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THE SEXUAL QUESTION 



THE 
SEXUAL QUESTION 



A SCIENTIFIC, PSYCHOLOGICAL, HYGIENIC AND 

SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY FOR THE 

CULTURED CLASSES 



BY 
AUGUST JFOREL, M.D., PH.D., LL.D. 

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



ENGLISH ADAPTATION 



C. F. MARSHALL, M.D., F.R.C.S. 

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



ILLUSTRATED 




NEW YORK 
REBMAN COMPANY 

1123 BROADWAY 

1st to 2nd thousand 



I^Ol 



Copyright, 1908, by 

REBMAN COMPANY 

New York 



Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, Eng., 1908 



All rights reserved 



Printed in America 



uoTmJL 
fUls 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 

Professor Forel is well known to English readers through 
the medium of English translations of his other works, on Psy- 
chiatry and kindred subjects. The present work has aheady 
been translated into several European languages. Whether we 
agree with all Professor Forel's conclusions or not, we must 
admit that he has dealt with a difficult and delicate subject in 

a masterly and scientific manner. 

C. F. Marshall. 

27 New Cavendish Street, London, W. 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

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

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

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

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

De. a. Forel. 

Chigny pres Merges (Suisse). 



X PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

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

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

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

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

"I am, therefore, a young girl whose sensations are neither 
cold nor perverse, and I am always rejoiced, in reading your 
book, to see with what truth you describe our sexual impressions. 
Those who maintain that we feel in this way the same as men 
make me smile. In your book ("Hygiene of ^larriage," p. 479) 
you say that the idea of marriage awakens in a normal young 
girl a kind of anguish and disgust, and that this feeling disap- 
pears as soon as she has found some one whom she loves. This 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION XI 

is extremely true and well observed. I am in complete agree- 
ment with a friend with whom I have often discussed your book; 
we young girls are very little attracted by the purely sexual side 
of marriage, and we should prefer to see children come into the 
world by some other way than that ordained by Nature. This 
will, perhaps, make you laugh. However, I think you will un- 
derstand my feelings. 

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

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

Dr. a. Forel. 

Chigny pr6s Merges (Suisse) . 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

The reproduction of living beings — History of the germ — 
Cell-division — Parthenogenesis — Conjugation — 
Mneme — Embryonic development — Difference of 
sexes — Castration — Hermaphrodism — Heredity — 
Blastophthoria ........ 6 

CHAPTER II 

The evolution or descent of living beings . . .39 

CHAPTER III 

Natural conditions of mechanism of human coitus — Preg- 
nancy — Correlative sexual characters . . . .49 

CHAPTER IV 

The sexual appetite in man and woman — Flirtation . . 72 

CHAPTER V 

Love and other irradiations of the sexual appetite in the 
human mind — Psychic irradiations of love in man: 
Procreative instinct, jealousy, sexual braggardism, por- 
nographic spirit, sexual hypocrisy, prudery and modesty, 
old bachelors — Psychic irradiations of love in woman: 
Old maids, passiveness and desire, abandon and exalta- 
tion, desire for domination, petticoat government, desire 
of maternity and maternal love, routine and infatuation, 
jealousy, dissimulation, coquetry, prudery and modesty 
— Fetichism and anti-fetichism — Psychological relations 
of love to religion ....... 104 



xiv CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI 

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

CHAPTER VII 
Sexual evolution — Phylogeny and ontogeny of sexual life 

CHAPTER VIII 

Sexual pathology — Pathology of the sexual organs — Venereal 
disease — Sexual psychology — Reflex anomalies — Psychic 
impotence — Sexual paradoxy — Sexual anaesthesia — Sex- 
ual hypersesthesia — Masturbation and onanism — Per- 
versions of the sexual appetite: Sadism, masochism, 
fetichism, exhibitionism, homosexual lo;^, sexual inver- 
sion, pederosis, sodomy — Sexual anomalies in the insane 
and psychopathic — Effects of alcohol on the sexual 
appetite — Sexual anomalies by suggestion and auto- 
suggestion — Sexual perversions due to habit 



CHAPTER IX 

The role of suggestion in sexual life — Amorous intoxication . 277 

CHAPTER X 

The relations of the sexual question to money and property — 

Prostitution, proxenetism and venal concubinage . 293 



CONTENTS XV 

CHAPTER XI 

PAGE 

The influence of environment on sexual life — Influence of 
climate — Town and country life — Vagabondage — Ameri- 
canism — Saloons and alcohol — Riches and poverty — 
Rank and social position — Individual life — Boarding 
schools ......... 326 

CHAPTER XII 
Religion and sexual life ....... 340 

CHAPTER XIII 

Rights in sexual life — Civil law — Penal law — A medico-legal 
case ......... 358 

CHAPTER XIV 

Medicine and sexual life — Prostitution — Sexual hygiene — 
Extra-nuptial intercourse — Medical advice — Means of 
regulating or preventing conception — Hygiene of mar- 
riage — Hygiene of pregnancy — Medical advice as to 
marriage — Medical secrecy — Artificial abortion — Treat- 
ment of sexual disorders ...... 418 

CHAPTER XV 
Sexual morality ........ 445 

CHAPTER XVI 
The sexual question in politics and in political economy . 461 

CHAPTER XVII 
The sexual question in pedagogy ..... 470 

CHAPTER XVIII 
The sexual question in art ...... 489 

CHAPTER XIX 

Conclusions — Utopian ideas on the ideal marriage of the 

future — Bibliographical remarks .... 499 



THE SEXUAL QUESTION 



THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

INTRODUCTION 

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

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

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

The sexual question is extraordinarily complex, and we can- 
not expect to find a simple solution for it as we can for the 
questions of alcoholism, slavery, torture, etc. The latter are 

3 



4 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

solved in one word — suppression. Suppression of slavery and 
torture; suppression of the usage of alcoholic drinks. We are 
concerned here with ulcers artificially produced and preserved 
in human society; ulcers which must be simply extirpated. 
Their suppression is nothing but beneficial, since, far from 
being connected with the normal conditions of human existence, 
they place it in peril. Sexual instinct and sentiment, on the 
contrary, have their roots in life itself; they are intimately 
bound up with humanity, and therefore require quite a different 
treatment. But human society has guided them into false and 
pernicious ways. It is important to tm-n them from these in 
order to tranquilize and regulate their course by damming 
them up and canalizing them. 

The fundamental axiom of the sexual question is as follows: 

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

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

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

The fundamental difficulty of the problem lies in the necessity 
for such an adaptation, and this difficulty requires us to make 



INTRODUCTION 5 

a clean sweep of prejudices, traditions and prudery. It is this 
which we wish to attempt. 

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

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



CHAPTER I 

THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 

History of the Germ: — Oell-division — Parthenogenesis — Conjuga- 
tion — Mneme — Embryological Development — Difference of the 
Sexes — Castration — Her?7iaphrodism — Heredity — Blasto- 
phthoria. 

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

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

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

Cell -division. — ^The lowest unicellular organisms, as each cell 
of a multicellular organism, reproduce themselves by division 

6 



Fig. 1. Cell before 
division. 



PLATE I 

CELL DIVISION 




Fig. 2. Division of 
centrosome. 



Fig. 3. Formation of 
chromosomes. 




Fig. 4. Dis.solution 
of nucleus. 



Fig. 5. Lining vip 
of chromosomes. 



Fig. (5. Division of 
chromosomes. 





Fig. 7. Division of 
chromo.somes. 



Fig. S. Attraction of chromosomes 
by centrosomes. 





Fig. 9. Concentration of nuclei. 
Division of cell. 



Fig. 10. Formation of new 
chromatin. 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 7 

or fission. Each cell originates from another cell in the follow- 
ing manner : the cell divides in the center as well as its nucleus, 
and in this way forms two cells which grow by absorbing by 
endosmosis (filtration) the nutritive juices which surround them. 
Death or destruction of the cell is therefore death of the entire 
organism when this is unicellular. But it has been previously 
reproduced. 

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

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

The nucleus of an ordinary cell presents itself in the form of a 
nearly spherical vesicle. Delicate methods of staining have 
shown that the nucleus encloses several round nucleolar corpus- 
cles, and also a reticulum which is attached to its membrane and 
spreads through 'its whole substance. The liquid part of the 
nucleus fills the meshes of this reticular tissue, which stains 
easily and for this reason is named chromatin. The phenomena 
of cell division in well-developed cells with nuclei is termed 
mitosis. Certain lower forms of cells exist in which the nucleus 
is not well differentiated. Mitosis begins in the nucleus (Plate 
I). Figure 1 represents the cell before division has commenced. 
In the protoplasm, by the side of the nucleus, is formed a small 
corpuscle (c) which is called the centrosome. The nucleus itself 
is marked b. When the cell commences to divide, the meshes 
of the network of chromatin contract and the centrosome di- 
vides into two parts (Fig. 2) . Shortly afterward the particles of 
chromatin concentrate in the form of convoluted rods called 



8 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

chromosomes (Figs. 3 and 4). The number of these varies 
according to the species of organism, but remains constant 
for each animal or vegetable species. At the same time the 
two centrosomes separate from each other on each side of the 
nucleus. The chromosomes then become shorter and thicker 
while the nucleus is completely dissolved in the protoplasm of 
the cell, and its membrane disappears (Fig. 4). 

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

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

This is what takes place in the reproduction of all cells of the 
animal and vegetable kingdoms. In the simplest unicellular 
organisms which are known fission constitutes the only means 
of reproduction. In the complicated organisms of the higher 
plants and animals each cell divides in the manner indicated 
above, both in the embryonic period and later on during the 
development of each of the organs which forms the organism. 
This fact shows more than any other the intimate relationship 
which connects all living organisms. The most remarkable thing. 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 9 

perhaps, is the almost mathematical division of the chromosomes 
into two halves, a division which results in the equal distribu- 
tion of their substance through the whole organism. We shall 
return to this point later on. 

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

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

The Sexual Glands. The Embryo. However complicated the 
organism, it always possesses a special organ, the cells of which, 
all of the same form, are reserved for the reproduction of the 
species and especially for conjugation. The cells of these or- 
gans, called sexual glands, have the power of reproducing them- 
selves so that they reconstruct the whole individual (the type 
of the species) from which they arose, in an almost identical 
form, by conjugation (sometimes also, for a certain time, by 



10 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

parthenogenesis) under certain fixed conditions as soon as they 
leave its body. We can thus say with Weismann, speaking 
philosophically, that these germinal cells continue the life of 
their parents, so that in reality death only destroys part of the 
individual, namely, that wliich has been specially adapted for 
certain exclusively individual ends. Each individual, therefore, 
continues to live in his descendants. 

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

Germinal Cells. Hermaphrodites. We now come to conju- 
gation. In order to avoid complications we will leave aside 
plants and speak only of animals. Among multicellular ani- 
mals, sometimes in the same individual, sometimes in different 
individuals, occur two kinds of sexual glands, each containing one 
kind of cells — the male cells and the female cells. When both 
kinds of sexual glands occur in the same indi^ddual, the animal 
is said to be nermaphrodite. When they develop in two different 
individuals the animals are of distinct sexes. Snails, for exam- 
ple, are hermaphrodite. There also exist lower multicellular 



\ 



PLATE II 

FERTILIZATION OF THE OVUM BY THE SPERMATOZOID 




DIAGRAM OF OVUM AND SPERMATOZOID 

Fig. 11. o, Vitelline membrane; ?>, protoplasm, or vitellus; c, nucleus ■with chromatin; 

(1, spennatozoid penetrating egg; c, another spermatozoid arrested by the vitelline 

membrane. 




Fig. 12. Formation of 
centrosome. 




Fig. 13. Formation of male nucleus by | 
spermatozoid. Division of centrosome. 





Fig. 14. 



Development of nucleus of 
spermatozoid. 



Fig. 15. Nucleus of spermatozoid attains 
same size as that of ovum. 





Fig. 



16. Formation of male and 
female chromosomes. 



Fig. 



17. Lining up of male and 
female chromosomes. 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 11 

animals which reproduce by budding, but among which conju- 
gation takes place from time to time. We shall not consider 
these animals any further, as they are too remote to interest us 
here. 

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

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

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

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



12 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

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

Before the head of the spermatozoid which has entered, ap- 
pears a centrosome (Fig. 12) which it brings to the egg with its 
small amount of protoplasm, and around this centrosome rays 
form, as in the case of cellular fission. At the same time a 
nuclear liquid arising from the protoplasm of the egg becomes 
concentrated around the chromatin of the spermatozoid, while 
the nucleus of the egg remains in place and does not change. 
The nucleus of the spermatozoid, on the contrary, begins to 
grow rapidly. It forms half the number of chromosomes cor- 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 13 

responding to the cell of the species to which it belongs, and 
grows at the expense of the vitellus of the egg. During this 
, time the centrosome divides into two halves, which progress 
slowly on each side toward the periphery of the egg, as in the 
case of fission (see Plate I), while the chromatin of the chro- 
; mosomes of the spermatozoid is dissolved in the network. The 
! nucleus thus formed by the spermatozoid enlarges more and 
: more (Figs. 13 and 14) till it attains the size and shape of that 
of the egg (Fig. 15). The male and female chromatin are col- 
ored red and blue respectively. 

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

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

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



14 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

organism, will contain on the average half its substance and 
energy from the paternal and half from the maternal side. I 

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

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

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

Conception of Irritation.*— By the aid of the fundamental 
facts of morphological science, biological and psychological, 

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



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 15 

Semon proves that Hering's idea is more than an analogy, and 
that there is a fundamental identity in the mechanism of or- 
ganic life. In order to avoid the terminology of psychology 
which tends to be equivocal, Semon employs some new terms to 
designate his new ideas, based on the fundamental conception 
of irritation in its physiological sense. 

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

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

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

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

Moreover, an engram may be revived by the enfeebled return 
of the primary irritating agent which produced it, or by an analo- 
gous enfeebled irritation. Thus, the sight of a photograph will 



16 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

revive the image of a known person. A certain kind of maize 
imported for a long time into Norway and influenced in that 
country during many generations by the sun of the long summer 
days, finally accelerated its time of maturation. When imported 
again to the south of Europe it first preserved its faculty of accel- 
erated maturation in spite of the shortness of the days (Schubeler). 
Semon gives a series of analogous examples which show how 
engrams repeated during several generations accumulate and end 
by becoming ecphoriated when they have acquired enough power. 

Engrams may be associated simultaneously in space, such as 
those of sight. But they may also be associated in succession, 
such as those of hearing and of ontogen3\ Simultaneous en- 
grams are associated in every direction with the same intensity. 
Successive engrams, on the contrary', are associated more strongly 
forwards than backwards, and have only two poles. In the 
succession ab, a acts more strongly on b than b on a. In the suc- 
cessions of engrams it often happens that two or more analogous 
engrams are associated in a manner more or less equivalent to a 
preceding engram. Semon calls this phenomenon dichotomy, 
trichotomy, etc. But in the successions, two engrams cannot 
be ecphoriated simultaneously. Hence the phenomenon which 
Semon names alternating ecphoria; that is sometimes one, some- 
times the other of the constituent engrams, for example, of a 
dichotomy, which arrives at ecphoria. Similarly, the engram 
of the ecphoriated dichotomy is most often that which has been 
previously most often repeated. 

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

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

Homophony. — The terms engram and ecphoria correspond to 
the well-known introspective phenomena in psychology of mem- 
ory and the association of ideas. Engrams are thus ecphoriated. 
At the time of such phenomena every mnemic irritation of the 
engrams vibrates simultaneously with the state of synchronous 
irritation produced by a new irritation. This simultaneous irri- 
tation is named by Semon homophony. When a partial discord is 
produced between the new irritation and the mnemic irritation, 
the organism always tends to reestablish homophony (harmony). 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 17 

This is seen in psychological introspection by activity of atten- 
tion; in embryology by the phenomenon of regeneration; and in 
phylogeny by that of adaptation. 

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

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

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

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

Each Cell bears in itself Ancestral Energy. As we have already 
seen, the germinal cells are not the only ones which possess the 



18 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

energies of all the characters of the species. On the contrary it 
becomes more and more certain, from further investigation, that 
each cell of the body bears in itself, so to speak, all the energies 
of the species, as is distinctly seen in plants. But in all the cells 
which are not capable of germinating, these energies remain 
incapable of development. It results that such energies, re- 
maining virtual, have no practical importance. 

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

New experiments made on the eggs of sea urchins and other 
organisms have shown that conjugation may be replaced by an 
external irritating agent; for example, the action of certain 
chemical substances is sufficient to make eggs develop by par- 
thenogenesis which would have died wdthout this action. An 
entire being has been successfully produced from an egg divided 
into two by means of a hair. And even from the protoplasm of 
the egg \sdthout its nucleus, with the aid of a spermatozoid. We 
must not, however, base premature hypotheses on these facts. 

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

A point of general interest is what is called the specific poly- 
embryony of certain parasitic insects (hymenoptera of the genus 
Encyrtus). According to Marchal, their eggs grow and divide 
into a considerable number of secondary eggs, each of which 
gives rise to an embryo and later on a perfect insect. By shak- 
ing the eggs of certain marine animals they have been caused 



THE KEPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 19 

to divide into several eggs and thus to produce several embryos. 
All the individuals arising from the division of the same egg of 
Encyrtus are of the same sex. 

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

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

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

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

Fixation of the egg. Formation of the Decidua. — After fe- 
cundation, the egg becomes attached to the mucous membrane 
of the cavity of the womb. This mucous membrane proliferates 
and becomes gradually detached from the womb to form the 



Left tube 




Labia minora 
Labia majora 



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



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 



21 



membrana decidua which envelops the egg or ovule. An egg 
fecundated and fixed in this way may keep its position and 
grow during the first weeks of pregnancy, by the aid of villosities 
covering its envelope which penetrate the wall of the womb. 

The womb. The placenta. The womb or uterus is the size 
of a small egg flattened in one direction. It terminates below 
in the neck or cervix, which is prolonged into the vagina as a 
projection, called the vaginal portion of the uterus. The cavity 
of the womb is continued into the neck and opens below in the 



^^ 



Uterus 




- -Mouth of tube 



Fig. 19. The mouth of the tube applied to the ovary at the moment of 
expulsion of the o\aile. 



vagina by an aperture which is round in virgins and is called 
the external os uteri. The walls of the womb consist of a thick 
layer of unstriped muscle. W^ien childbirth takes place it 
causes tearing which makes the external os uteri irregular and 
fissured. During copulation the aperture of the penis or male 
organ is placed nearly opposite the os uteri, which facilitates 
the entrance of spermatozoa into the uterus. (For the illus- 
tration of these points see Fig. 18.) 

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



22 



THE SEXUAL QUESTION 



Umb, 



Vill. 




The fasciculus at- 
tached to the embryo 
is the allantois which 

- - - chor. becomes the umbilical 
cord. The vertebrae 

**- - Emb. are already easy to 
recognize in this em- 
bryo. The embryo is 
formed from a portion 
of blastoderm, that 
to say, from the 



Am. 



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



Chor. 

Vill. 

Emb. 

Umb. 
Am. 



Chorion or envelope of the egg. 

Villi of the chorion. 

Embryo (near the head are seen the 

branchial arches). 
Umbilical vesicle. 
Amnion. 



IS 

cellular layer applied 
to the membranes of 
the egg and arising 
from the successive 
divisions of the two 
primary conjugated 
cells and their daugh- 
ter cells. The embryo has the form of a spatula with the head 
at one end and the tail at the other. From its walls is detached 
a surrounding vesicle (Fig. 20) 
called the aynnion, while another 
vesicle, the umbilical vesicle, grows 
from its ventral surface and serves, 
in birds, for the vitelline circulation 
of the egg which is detached from 
the mother's body. 

In man, the umbilical vesicle is 
unimportant. In its place the cir- 
culation of the blood takes place 
by the aid of another vesicle, called fig. 21. Embrj-o of four weeks, 
the allantois, which arises from the (After Kulhker). 

1. Auditory vesicle. 

2. Ocular vesicle. 

3. Olfactory fossa. 

4. Bud forming upper maxilla. 

5. Bud of lower maxilla. 

6. Right ear. 

7. Liver. 

8. Upper limb. 
, , J 11-1 1 9. Lower limb, 
blood vessels which meet the ma- lo. Caudal extremity. 




intestine of the embryo, and which 
becomes attached to the walls of 
the womb in the form of a thick 
disk called the placenta. 
The placenta is formed of dilated 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 



23 

The 



ternal blood vessels, also dilated, in the uterine wall 
allantois later on becomes the umbilical cord. 

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

Duration of pregnancy. Birth. Pregnancy lasts from con- 



Liver 



Placenta 



-Vertebral 
column 




WaU of 

uteru3- 



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

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



24 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

In order to avoid suffocation it is obliged to breathe atmos- 
pheric au- immediately, for its blood becomes dark by saturation 
with carbonic acid, which irritates the respiratory nerve centers. 
The first independent act of the new-born child is, therefore, a 



Portal vein — 




Liver 



—Intestines 



,-. Umbilical 
cord 



Internal 

OS uteri 

, . ^ _ Bladder 

._ Pubis 
_ External 
f> OS uteri 

M^ Urethra 

Bag of 
5' 7,\ waters 



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

nervous reflex determined by asphyxia, and is performed with 
the first cry. Soon afterward the infant begins to suck, so as 
not to die of hunger, while the umbilical cord, having become 
useless, shrivels up, and the placenta is destroyed (some animals 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 25 

eat it). The new-born infant is only distinguished from the 
embryo soon after birth by its breathing and crying. 

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

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

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



26 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

In different species of animals, the correlative sexual charac- 
ters of which we have spoken vary enormously; sometimes the 
differences are insignificant, at other times they are considera- 
ble; while we can hardly distinguish a male swallow from a 
female, the cock and hen, the peacock and peahen, the stag and 
hind are very different from each other. In man, the correla- 
tive sexual characters are very distinct, even externally. These 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 27 

characters may extend to all parts of the body, even to the 
brain and mental faculties. 

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



28 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

itself is incapable of such complex actions. I cite these facts 
here as material for study, for we are only too prone in this 
domain to generalize prematurely and to draw too hasty con- 
clusions. In reality, there is still a wide field for study of the 
greatest interest. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We shall see later on that the ancestral relationship of the 
different groups, species and varieties of animals has been fairly 
well fixed, and we may say that the third of the laws stated 
above is equally true in a wider sense. In fact the species and 
varieties of animals which are near related resemble each other. 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 29 

while the genera, families and classes are more dissimilar as their 
relationship is more remote. We employ here the terms re- 
semblance, homology and difference in their profound and gen- 
eral sense. Certain pm-ely external resemblances, due to phe- 
nomena of convergence, must not be considered as homologies in 
the sense of hereditary relationsliip. Thus, in the language of 
natural liistory we do not say that a bat resembles a bird, nor 
that a whale resembles a fish, for here the resemblances are due 
simply to aerial or aquatic life which produces the effects of 
convergence, while the internal structure shows them to be 
quite dissimilar organisms. Although it swims in the sea the 
whale is a mammal; its fins at first sight resemble those of a 
fish, but they are really the homologues of the four limbs of 
other mammals and contain the corresponding bones. 

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

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

A closer examination reveals further very curious facts. An 
infant which, in its early years, strongly resembles its father, 
may later on resemble its mother, or inversely. Certain pecu- 
liarities of a certain ancestor appear suddenly, often at an ad- 
vanced age. It is needless to say that peculiarities concerning 
the beard cannot appear till this has gro^\'n, and this simple 



30 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

fact is so characteristic that it has been called hereditary dispo- ; 
sition. Everything may be transmitted by heredity, even to 
the finest shades of sentiment, intelligence and will, even to . 
the most insignificant details of the nails, the form of the bones, 
etc. But the combinations of ancestral qualities vary so infi- 
nitely that it is extremely difficult to recognize them. Hered- 
itary dispositions arise from the energy of two conjugated germs 
during the whole of life "and tUl death. Old people sometimes 
develop peculiarities hitherto unknown in them, omng to the 
fact that one or more of then- ancestors also presented the same 
phenomena at an advanced age. 

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

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

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

This shows the capital importance of conjugation and of the 
substance of the conjugated nuclei, especially of their chromatin. 
The fact that, in certain of the lower animals, the protoplasm of 
the egg without nuclei may occasionally produce some phenom- 



! THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 31 

3na of cell division, thanks to its inherited mnemic engrams, in 
10 way alters the fundamental principle which alone occurs in 
|3ian, for this vicarious action, which is moreover rudimentary, 
Dnly happens when the protoplasm of the egg is not consumed 
by the conjugated nuclei. 

Parthenogenesis is also a very interesting phenomenon in the 
tiistory of our animal ancestors, but for the same reasons it has 
QO direct interest for humanity. 

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

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

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

Moreover, the different organs of the body may receive their 
energies from different parts of the conjugated nuclei in different 
degrees. A person may have his father's nose and his mother's 
eyes, the paternal grandmother's humor and the maternal 
grandfather's intelligence, and all this with infinite degrees and 
variations, for it is only a matter of more or less accentuated 



32 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

averages. In my own face the two halves are distinctly differ- 
ent, one resembling my maternal ancestry and the other, in a 
lesser degree, my paternal ancestry, these points being seen 
distinctly in photographs taken in profile. 

Each germinal cell contains the hereditary mneme of its an- 
cestors, paternal and maternal, and the two cells united by con- 
jugation (Fig. 17) that of the ancestors of each of them. We 
have spoken above of ecphorias produced, according to MendeVs 
law and reproducing characters which have been latent during 
one or two generations. Darwin was the first to study this inter- . 
esting fact, which shows how atavism often results from the cross- ' 
ing of varieties. There are several varieties of fowls which do 
not brood; if two of these varieties, b and c, are crossed excellent 
brooders are obtained. Semon assumes that in each of the non- 
brooding varieties the ancestral energy, a, of the primary spe- 
cies, is weaker than that of varieties b and c; we have then 
o > 6, and a<:c. But if b is coupled with a the product repre- 
sents the value b + c + a + a. Then b and c are in equilibrium; 
and a being doubled becomes stronger than each of them and 
arrives at ecphoria in their place, which restores the faculty of 
brooding to the product of crossing. 

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

The celebrated zo51ogist, Weisjnann, considers that the chro- 
matin of each germinal cell contains a considerable quantity of 
particles each of which is capable of forming an entire organism 
similar to the parents; these he calls "ides." According to 
Weismann, each ide is subdivided into "determinants" from 
which each part of the body is derived, being potentially prede- 
termined in them. According to the action of a yet unknown 
irritation male or female determinants develop in each individ- 
ual of the animal species with separate sexes. But if the deter- 
minants are disordered, either by abnormal variations or by 
pathological causes, hermaphrodites or monstrosities may be 
produced. In animals which are normally hermaphrodite (snails. 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 33 

etc.), there is only one kind of sexual determinant, while in 
polymorphous animals (ants, etc.), there are as many as the 
polymorphous forms. The conception of "ides" and "determi- 
nants" is only a hypothesis to which we must not attach much 
value. The innemic laws established by Semon give a much 
better explanation of the facts. 

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

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



34 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

their mother. This contrast makes the children appear imf avor- 
ably, while the public has a general tendency to exaggerate the 
value of a great man. 

The theoiy of the mneme throws light on this subject, by intro- 
ducing a new factor in the question, that of ecphoria of the cere- 
bral engrams of the ancestors, accumulated in the hereditary 
mneme. 

Heredity of Acquired Characters. — While Darwin and Haeckel 
affirmed the possibility of the heredity of characters acquired 
during life by different tissues, for instance the brain, Weisjnann 
limits the possibility to everything that can modify the nucleo- 
plasm of the germinal cells. We must first eliminate the ques- 
tion of the phenomena of blastophthoria, which we shall consider 
next, and which Weisnmnn was, I think, the first to compre- 
hend, without giving them the name. 

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

It is on such facts, which are innumerable in natural history, 
that Weis?nann relies to repudiate absolutely the heredity of 
characters acquired by non-germinal organs and to attribute 
the development of organisms to blends and combinations due 
to conjugation, or crossing, as well as to natural selection, which 
he regards as all-powerful. Darwin well recognized the diffi- 
culty in question, and being unable to explain the facts, had 
recourse to the hypothesis of pangenesis, that is of small parti- 
cles detached from all parts of the body and transported by the 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 35 

blood to the germinal cells, to transmit to them, for example, 
the qualities acquired by the brain during life. This hypothesis 
was so improbable that Darwin himself was forced to recognize 
it. Let us examine the facts. 

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

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



36 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

mutations must be the ecphoria of accumulated former latent 
engraphias. 

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

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

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

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

Blastophthoria deranges the mneme or hereditary engrams, 
and consequently a more or less considerable part of their 
ecphorias during the life of the individuals which arise from them. 
It is not a question here of the reproduction of the hereditary 
ancestral energies in the descendants (in different combinations) 



THE REPRODUCTION OF LIVING BEINGS 37 

as is the case in the heredity which we have just studied, but, 
on the contrary, a question of their perturbation. However, 
the store of cells reserved as germinal cells in the embryo, the 
germ of which has been damaged by blastophthoric action, being 
usually also affected by the disturbing cause, it follows that the 
pathological change introduced by blastophthoria in the hered- 
itary mneme is transmitted to the descendants by ordinary 
heredity. In this way blastophthoria deposits the first germ 
of most pathological degenerations by causing immediate devi- 
ation of all the determinants of the germ in the same direction. 

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

Other deviations in the development of the germs may act 
in an analogous manner to blastophthoria. We have mentioned 



38 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

above the experiments of Merrifield and Standfuss on the cater- 
pillars of certain butterflies. Without being really of a patho- 
logical nature, these actions of a physical agent on the hereditary 
energies resemble blastophthoria. 

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



CHAPTER II 

EVOLUTION OR DESCENT OF LIVING ORGANISMS 

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

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

Researches on the fossil remains of species of animals and 
plants which have been extinct for thousands and millions of 
years (palceontology) have also contributed to determine the 
trunk of the great tree of former life. The numerous gaps 
which still exist between these fragmentary documents of 

39 



40 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

former ages are nevertheless too considerable for continuous 
connections to be established in the past by the aid of fossils. 

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

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

Ontogeny. Phylogeny. — In the light of the facts of evolution, 
heredity takes quite a new aspect when removed from the old 
biblical idea of the independent creation of species. Haeckel 
launched into the scientific world, under the name of "funda- 
mental biogenetic law," a theory which, without having the 
right to the title of an immutable dogma, explains the facts in a 
general way, and gives us a guiding line along the phylogenetic 
history of living beings. " Ontogeny," that is the history of 
the embryological development of each individual, always con- 
sists in a summary and fragmentary repetition of phylogeny, or 
the history of the ancestors of the species to which the individual 
belongs. This signifies that, as embryos, w^e repeat in an 
abridged form the series of types or morphological stages through 
which has passed the series of our animal ancestors, from the 
primitive cell to man. In reality this is only true in a relative 
way, for a considerable part of the ancestral engraphias of the 
embryo has disappeared without leaving any trace; also many 
embryos, especially those which have special conditions of 



EVOLUTION OR DESCENT OF LIVING ORGANISMS 41 

existence outside the body of their mother, have acquired special 
complex organs and corresponding functions. Thus, the cater- 
pillars of butterflies with their specific and generic peculiarities, 
hairs, horns, etc., furnish many examples of secondary acquired 
characters which have nothing in common with the worm, which 
is the ancestral type of the butterfly represented by the embry- 
onic period when it is a caterpillar. However, many undoubted 
vestiges of the ancestral history are found in the embryos at 
different periods of their development. It is certain that insects 
descended from worms, and there is no doubt that the larv2e of 
insects, wliich are almost worms, represent the ontogenetic repe- 
tition of the phylogeny of insects. 

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

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

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

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

Our coccyx is a vestige of the tail of animals. It is from them 
also that we have inherited anger and jealous}^, sexual appetites, 



42 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

fear, cunning, etc. As long as they remain in use, the oldest 
inherited characters normally remain the most tenacious and 
are preserved the longest. When they cease to be utilized, or 
become useless, they still remain for a long time as rudiments 
before finally disappearing; for instance the vermiform appen- 
dix of the intestine and the pineal gland of the brain. These 
rudiments often persist for still a longer time in the embryo, as 
we have seen in the case of the ancestral teeth of the embryo 
whales. We also meet with the stumps of wings in the chrysalis 
of certain ants (Anergates), the males of which have lost their 
wings. 

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

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

On the other hand, what always has been and still remains 
hypothetical is the explanation of the descent of all plants and 
animals by natural selection alone. We have already spoken 



EVOLUTION OR DESCENT OF LIVING ORGANISMS 43 

of the mutations of de Vries, and the theory of the mneme 
elaborated by Semon, and need not repeat them here. Thanks 
to the idea of Hering, worked out by Semon, the facts are now 
explained in a satisfactory manner. Engraphia, produced in 
the organisms by the mitating agents of the external world, 
prepares and builds up little by little their increasing compli- 
cations, while selection, by continually eliminating the unfit, 
directs the elaborating work of the mneme and adapts it to 
the surrounding local circumstances. 

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

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

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

Other facts show clearly that the fauna and flora of the present 
world find themselves in a period of recoil with regard to their 



44 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

modification. In the tertiary period the fauna and flora of the 
world were richer than to-day; many more older species have 
disappeared than new ones have arisen. This fundamental fact- 
seems due to the extremely slow cooling of the earth, and ap-; 
pears to be indicated by the powerful growth in tropical climates, 
the fauna and flora of which resemble those of the tertiary^ period, 
and, on the other hand by the relative poverty and slo-s\Tiess of 
growth in cold countries. 

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

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

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

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

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

(4). It follows from all this that phylogeny and selection, the 



EVOLUTION OR DESCENT OF LIVING ORGANISMS 45 

ame as heredity properly understood, have the right to a f unda- 
nental place in the sexual question, for the germs which, after 
jjach conception, reproduce an individual are, on the one hand, 
)earers of the inherited energy of our ancestors, and on the 
)ther hand, that of future generations. According to the care 
)r neglect of civilized humanity they may be transformed for 
;ood or evil, progress or recede. Unfortunately, owing to reli- 
gious and other prejudices, the question of evolution is not dis- 
!ussed in schools. Hence, the majority of men only hear of 
:,hese things by hearsay in a rough and inexact manner; so that 
I series of phenomena familiar to naturalists and medical men, 
]ire still dead letters for the rest of the public. This obliges me 
\jO speak further on some points of detail. 

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

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

Among the savage peoples we find races such as the pigmies 
of Stanley (Akkaas), the Weddas of Ceylon, even Australians 
and negroes, whose whole bodily structure differs profoundly 
from our European race and its varieties. The profoundness 
and constancy of these differences clearly show that the rela- 
tionship of such races to ours must be very remote. We are 



46 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

concerned here with veritable races or sub-species, or at least 
with very constant and accentuated varieties. It is true that 
it is difficult to unravel the almost inextricable confusion of 
human races; but we may be certain that the savage races and 
varieties remote from ours, and even certain less-remote races 
such as the Mongols and Malays, are, phylogenetically speaking, 
infinitely less related to us than the ancient Assyrians. This 
indicates that the ancestors which were common to us and these 
races must probably be looked for several thousands of genera^ 
tions back, even when their descendants are still living on other 
continents at the present day. 

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

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



EVOLUTION OR DESCENT OF LIVING ORGANISMS 47 

covered the chain of transition between the apes and man will 
be almost complete. 

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

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

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

It has been recently demonstrated that the incapacity of two 
species of animals to produce hybrids is intimately connected 
with the reciprocal toxicity of their blood. When the blood of 
one species is injected into the veins of another the production 
of hybrids is possible between them, at least as far as has been 
obsei'ved. It is curious to note that the blood of the anthropoid 
apes is not toxic for man, although these animals are very differ- 
ent from us, and hybrids have not yet been produced. This 
fact helps us to understand how it is that the differences which 
exist between the different human races do not prevent the pro- 
duction of hybrids between any two of them. In spite of this 
we may state, without risk of error, that the most dissimilar 
human races give a bad quality of hybrids, which have little 



48 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

chance of forming a viable mongrel race. We have not sufficient 
information on this point concerning the lowest human races,' 
such as the pigmies and Weddas. On the other hand, mulattoes 
(hybrids between negi'oes and whites) constitute a race of veryi 
bad quality and hardly viable, while the hybrids between In- 
dians and whites are much more resistant and of relatively 
better quality. 

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



CHAPTER III 

NATURAL CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS — 
PREGNANCY — CORRELATIVE SEXUAL CHARACTERS 

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

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

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

(1). The germinal cells themselves, the female form of which 
becomes larger, more rich in protoplasm, and remains immo- 

49 



50 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

bile, while the male form, or spermatozoid becomes extremcl\' 
small and is provided with motor apparatus (Fig. 11). 

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

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

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

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

In man, sexual differentiation has led to the formation of two 
kinds of individuals, differing little in their correlative attributes, 
but each bearing one kind of germinal cells. In sexual union 
man plays the active part, woman, the passive. When sexual 
activity, in the animal kingdom, is no longer limited to the move- 
ment of one of the cells but requires the displacement of the 
whole individual, we can quite understand that the organization 
of these individuals must become much more complex, and that 
it requires a central nei-vous system as a directing apparatus. 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 51 

Sexual individuality thus involves collaboration of the other 
organs of the body, and especially that of the central organs for 
reflex movements, the instincts and the higher mental faculties of 
man, in the accomplishment of the fecundating act those which 
are the consequences of it. 

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

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



52 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and the lowest mammals or 
monotremes (ornithorhynchus and echidna). 

In the lower mammals is developed an organ called the womb . 
which allows the embryo to remain longer in the maternal body. ; 
This organ is very incomplete in them, and a pocket or fold in | 
the skin of the belly allows the mother to carry her young, which ' 
are extremely embryonic at birth, till they have developed suffi- : 
ciently to live alone. This occurs in marsupials (kangaroos and t 
opossums), in which the vagina and utcrug are double. 

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

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

The Copiilatory Organ of Man. The Testicles. The Seminal 
Vericles. — Nature is often very sparing even in the highest or- 
ganizations. It has thus combined in the male the urethra with 
the copulatory organ, and the sexual germinal glands, or 
testicles, with an accessory gland, the epididymis. Hundreds of 
thousands of spermatozoa are contained in the glandular tubes 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 53 

of these organs, which, when they are mature can always pro- 
duce new ones by cell division. The spermatozoa accumulate 
at the extremity of the duct of the gland in a reservoir called 
the seminal vesicle, where they float in the mucus, thus consti- 
tuting the seminal fluid or sperm. This liquid has a special 
odor. The two seminal vesicles are situated in the abdominal 
cavity underneath the urinary bladder, each having a duct 
which meets that of the other side and opens by the side of it 
in the deep part of the urethra. Here the secretion of several 
other glands, especially of the prostate, is added to the sperm 
and mixes with it. The point where the two seminal ducts open 
into the urethra forms a small elevation, the verumontanum. 
From this point the male urethra emerges from the abdominal 
cavity and is continued along the special prolongation which 
forms the penis, or virile member of copulation. In the ordinary 
way the penis only serves for the emission of urine. It hangs 
flaccid and terminates in a rounded swelling called the glans, 
at the end of which opens the urethra (Fig. 18). This opening 
serves also for the emission of the sperm. 

Erection. The Corpus Cavernosum. — The most curious part 
of this apparatus is the mechanism of erection, or the power pos- 
sessed by the penis of swelling under the influence of certain 
nervous irritations, increasing in length and diameter as well as 
becoming rigid. This phenomenon is produced by three organs 
called the cavernous bodies which form the principal bulk of the 
penis. One of them, situated in the middle and underneath 
and formed by two bodies united into one, surrounds the urethra 
and terminates in front in a dilatation which constitutes the 
glans already mentioned. The two others are situated symmet- 
rically on the dorsal part of the penis. All three consist of 
caverns or diverticula formed by blood-vessels, which are empty 
when the penis is flaccid. By a complex nervous mechanism 
based on vascular paralysis due to nervous phenomena called 
inhibition and dynamogeny, the nervous irritations cause an 
accumulation of blood in the spaces of the cavernous bodies 
which become so gorged with blood as to form stiff and hard 
rods. The size of the penis is thereby increased considerably 
and its stiffness allows it to penetrate the vagina of the female. 



54 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

At the same time and by the same mechanism the verumontanum 
swells so as to close the ureter from the bladder, while the semi- 
nal ducts open toward the urethral orifice. In this way the cop- 
ulatory organ is ready for its function. 

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

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

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

We have seen above that the male and female germinal glands 
arise from the same primitive organ in the embryo. If the em- 
bryo becomes male, this organ is transformed into the two tes- 
ticles which descend gradually in the canal of the groin and 
become placed in the scrotum. If it becomes female, the two 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 55 

sexual glands remain in the abdominal cavity and are trans- 
formed into ovaries. 

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

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

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



56 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

The Mechanism of Coitus. — Copulation, or coitus, takes place 
as follows: After a certain degree of excitation, both mental 
and sensor}', the male introduces the erect and stiffened penis 
into the vagina. In the case of advanced pregnancy he should 
place himself behind, so as to avoid injuring the unborn child. 
Rhythmic movements of the two indi\'iduals, especially of the 
man, gradually increase the excitation of the mucous membrane 
or skin of the genital organs of each party, till voluptuous sen- 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 57 

sations, arising chiefly in the glans penis and clitoris, spread to 
the whole nervous system and the entire body, constituting 
what is called the venereal orgasm, and terminating in the man 
by the ejaculation of semen. 

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

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

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

According to Ferdy and other authors, the neck of the womb. 



58 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 59 

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

While the activity of man is terminated at conception, that of 
woman only begins at this moment. In the first chapter we 
have indicated in a few words the transformations of the human 
embryo up to its birth. During nine months it grows from the 
size of a pin's head (the ovule) to that of the new-born child. 
Although a woman seldom bears more than one embryo at the 
same time, twins being rare on the whole, she has nevertheless 
more pain and fatigue to bear than any female animal. This 
is due not only to the fact that our artificial and alcoholized 
civilization, with its specialized labor which disturbs vital equi- 
lil^rium, has made women indolent and degenerate, but also to 
the enormous development of the human brain. The head of 
the human embryo is disproportionately large because the brain, 
as I showed with Schiller in 1889, already contains at birth all 
the nerve elements w4iich it wall possess during the rest of its 
life (Comptes rendus de VAcademie des Sciences). No doubt 
these elements are small and embiyonic but the nerve fibers are 
ready to be covered with myehn and to enter upon their func- 
tions, and all this requires a cranium of considerable size. But 
it is not everything for the mother to nourish with her blood 
the brain and the cranium of the child; it is also necessary for 
this relatively large head to pass through the pelvis at the time 
of childbirth, and we know that this moment is the most dan- 
gerous for the life of the pregnant woman. As boys have on 
the average a larger brain and cranium than those of girls, their 
birth is usually more difficult. 



60 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

It is a curious fact that these disorders are more accentuated 
at the commencement of pregnancy, when the womb is hardly 
enlarged, than at the end. They consist chiefly of nervous 
troubles — slight derangement of the cerebral functions and sen- 
sations, etc. Obstinate vomiting, peculiar desires, and changes 
of temper are some of the most frequent troubles of pregnant 
women, and probably arise more from local nervous irritation 
than from general transformations of the nutrition of the body. 
The mother's body is becoming adapted to the development of 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 61 

the infant in the womb. However embarrassed a woman may 
be in the last months of pregnancy by the great swelling of the 
belly (Fig. 22) the disorders are less accentuated than at the 
beginning of pregnancy. 

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

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

When the child is born, the umbilical cord (that is the trans- 
formed allantois, Fig. 23) cut, and the placenta extracted, the 
connecting nutrition and respiration between the child and 
its mother are suddenly interrupted. Nourished hitherto by its 
mother's blood through the placenta and the vessels of the 
umbilical cord which supplied the necessary oxygen, the infant 
is suddenly obliged to breathe and feed for itself. Its lungs, 
hitherto inactive, expand instantaneously under the nervous in- 
fluence produced by the blood saturated with carbonic acid, and 
the first cry is produced. Thus commences individual respira- 



62 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

tion. Several hours later the cessation of maternal nutrition 
causes hunger, and this the reflex movements of suction, and the 
child takes the breast. During this time the empty womb con- 
tracts strongly and retracts enormously in a few days. The in- 
crease of blood produced by the maternal organism, by its 
adaptation to the nutrition of the embryo, is then employed in 
the production of milk in the l:)roasts or lactiferous glands, which 
were already well develoix'd during pregnancy. 

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

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

The false modesty of women concerning their pregnancy and 
everything that concerns childbirth, the pleasantries often made 
with regard to pregnant women are a sad sign of the degenera- 
tion and even corruption of our refined civilization. Pregnant 
women ought not to hide themselves, or to be ashamed to carry 
a child in their womb; on the contrary they should be proud. 
Such pride would certainly be nmch more justified than that of 
the fine officers parading in their uniforms. The external signs 
of the formation of humanity are more honorable to their bear- 
ers than the symbols of destruction, and woman should become 
imbued more and more with this truth! They will then cease 
to hide their pregnancy and to be ashamed of it. Conscious of 
the grandeur of their sexual and social duty they will raise aloft 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 63 

the standard of our descent, which is that of the true future life 
of man, at the same time striving for the emancipation of their 
sex. Viewed in this way, the sexual role of woman becomes 
elevated and solemn. Man should less and less maintain his in- 
difference towards the social miseries to which the slavery of 
woman has led, which has lasted thousands of years and which 
has dishonored the highest functions of her sex, by abuses 
without number. 

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

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

In normal circumstances the special bonds which unite the 
mother to her children last for life, while the father, if all goes 
well, becomes simply the best friend of his gi'owing children. 
It is time that fathers began to recognize these natural laws, 
instead of clinging so tenaciously to the historic and artificial 
prestige of a worm-eaten and unnatm-al patriarchal authority. 
No doubt there are many pathological and degenerate mothers, 



64 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

but such an anomaly only proves the rule that we have just 
laid down. i 

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

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

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

In women the body is smaller and more delicate, the bones 

• weaker, the pelvis wider and the chest narrower. The normal 

woman has no beard while the pubic hairs are the same as in 

i 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 65 

man. The pubis, covered with a layer of fat, is sUghtly promi- 
nent in women and is called the mons Veneris. There is more 
fat under the skin in a woman's body, and the voice does not 
break. After puberty breasts develop with their lactiferous 
glands and nipples for suction. Puberty takes place a little 
earlier in women than in men, and corresponds to the growth 
of the internal and external sexual organs, at the same time 
that the ovules commence to mature and menstruation is estab- 
lished. 

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

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



66 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

CEREBRAL HEMISPHERES OTHER CEREBRAL, CENTERS 

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

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

These figures appear to show that the cerebral hemispheres 
in woman are on the average a little smaller than in man, even 
proportionately to the stature; for, according to a general law 
in the animal kingdom, woman being smaller, her cerebral 
hemispheres should be, with equal mentality, proportionately a 
little larger. There are, however, female brains larger than 
many male brains, and the absolute and relative size of the 
cerebral hemispheres does not give a complete measure of the 
productive faculties. Remarkable men have been known to 
possess rather small brains and imbeciles heavy ones. We must 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 67 

not forget the great importance of the hereditary or engraphic 
predispositions of the nerve element or neurone, to certain 
activities and especially to work in general, that is to say, their 
aptitude to produce energy, or if one prefers it, their disposition 
to "will." 

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

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

Adhering in a general way to the main definitions of psy- 
chology, we assert that from the purely intellectual point of 
view, man considerably excels woman in his creative imagina- 
tion, his faculty for combination and discovery, and by his 
critical mind. For a long time this was said to be explained by 
the statement that women had not the opportunity of measuring 



68 ' THE SEXrAL QUESTION 

their intelligence against that of men; but, thanks to the mod- 
ern movement of the emancipation of women, this assertion be- 
comes more and more untenable. It is so '^ith regard to artistic 
creations, for women have at all times taken part in works of 
art. When certain people maintain that a few generations of 
activity suffice to elevate the intellectual development of women, 
they confound the results of education with those of heredity 
and phylogeny (^dde Chapter II). Education is a purely indi- 
vidual matter and only requires one generation to produce its 
results. But neither nmemic engraphia, nor even selection can 
modify hereditary energies in two or three generations. Tied 
down hitherto partly by servitude, the mental faculties of 
woman will doubtless rise and flourish in aU their natural power 
as soon as they are absolutely free to develop in society equally 
with those of men, by the aid of equal rights. But what does 
not exist in the hereditaiy mneme, that is to say in the energies 
of germs, inherited through thousands or millions of years, can- 
not be created in a few generations. The specific characters 
and consequently the sexual characters have quite another con- 
stancy than is believed by the superficial prattlers, who deafen 
us with their jargon on a question of which they only grasp the 
surface. There is no excuse, at the present day, for confounding 
hereditary correlative sexual characters with the indi\idual 
results of education. The latter are acquired by habit and can 
only be inherited as such by an infinitesimal engraphia, possibly 
after hundreds of generations. 

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

Artistic production confirms this opinion. Woman is here on 
the average much inferior as regards creation or production, 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 69 

properly so called, and even her best results are wanting in 
originality and do not open up new paths. On the contrary, as 
virtuosos, women compare well with men in simply reproductive 
art. There are, however, exceptional women whose productions 
are original, creative and independent. The philosopher Stuart 
Mill points out the intuitive gift of woman who, led by her indi- 
vidual observations, rapidly and clearly discovers a general 
truth, and applies it in particular cases, without troubling mth 
abstract theories. This may be called the intuitive or sub- 
conscious judgment of woman. 

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

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

As regards will power, woman is, in my opinion, on the average 
superior to man. It is in this psychological domain more than 
in any other, that she will always triumph. This is generally 
misunderstood, because men have so far apparently held the 
scepter of an unlimited omnipotence; because by the abuse of 
brute force, aided by superiority of inventive genius, humanity 
has been hitherto led by strong masculine wills, and because the 



70 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

strongest feminine wills have been dominated by the law of the 
right of the stronger. But the unprejudiced observer is soon 
obliged to recognize that the directive will of the family is only, 
in general, represented externally by the master, Man parades 
his authority much more often than he puts it into practice; he 
lacks the perseverance, tenacity and elasticity which constitute 
the true power of will, and which are peculiar to woman. It is 
needless to say that I am only speaking of the average and that 
there are many women whose will power is feeble. But these 
easily become the prey of prostitution, which causes their disap- 
pearance. This is perhaps one of the causes which have strength- 
ened by selection the will power in women. Man is impulsive 
and violent as regards his will power, but often inconstant and 
irresolute, yielding as soon as he has to strive persistently for a 
certain object. From these facts it naturally results that, on 
the average, it is the man in the family who provides the ideas 
and impulses, but the woman who, with the finesse of her tact 
and perseverance, instinctively makes the distinction between 
the useful and the harmful, utilizing the former and constantly 
combating the latter; not because she is fundamentally supe- 
rior, but because she is more capable of dominating herself, 
which proves the superiority of her will power. 

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

We need not dwell here on the numerous psychological pecu- 
liarities of woman, inherent in her capacity as mother, nor on 



CONDITIONS AND MECHANISM OF HUMAN COITUS 71 

those of man adapted to his muscular strength and to his capac- 
ity as protector of the family. These are derived from sexual 
differences which are mentioned in Chapter V. Nor need we 
describe correlative differences of less importance which are 
well known and which arise from those of which we have spoken 
or from du'ect sexual differences. They can be observed, on 
the one hand, in purely male reunions in saloons, smoking 
rooms and other similar places; on the other hand, in feminine 
circles of all classes, among the common people, among the 
fashionable, or even in philanthropic associations. On the aver- 
age, woman is more artful and more modest; man coarser 
and more cynical, etc. After much personal experience, gained 
in societies in which the two sexes possess the same rights and 
are admitted to the same titles, I am obliged to declare that I 
have never found any confirmation (at least in the German- 
Swiss country) of the popular saying that gossip and intrigue 
are the special appanage of woman. I have found these two 
vices quite as often in man. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE SEXUAL APPETITE 

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

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

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

In the higher animals, the complex polycellular individuals 

72 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 73 

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

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

Und mit eiligem Bestreben 
Sucht sich, was sich angehort, 
Und zu ungemessnem Leben 
1st Gefiihl und Blick gekehrt. 
Sei's ergreifen, sei es raff en, 
Wenn es nur sich fasst und halt ! 
Allah braucht nicht mehr zu schaffen, 
Wir erschaffen seine Welt ! 



74 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

Sexual coimection among butterflies of the Bombyx family 
is no less marvelous. They live for months as caterpillars and 
sometimes for two years as chrysalids, hibernating in a cocoon 
in some corner of the earth or in the bark of trees. Finally the 
butterfly, brilliantly colored, emerges from the cocoon and 
spreads its wings. It only possesses, however, a rudimentary 
intestinal canal for the short life which remains, for it does not 
require much nourishment and is only devoted to sexual con- 
nection. The female remains quiet and waits. The male, fur- 
nished with large antermse which perceive the odor of the female 
at a distance of several kilometers, commences an infatuated 
flight through the woods and fields, as soon as his wings are 
sufficiently strong. His sole object is to reach the female. 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 75 

Here again there are numerous competitors. The one who 
arrives first possesses the female, but expires shortly afterward. 
His competitors die also, exhausted by their long flight and by 
starvation, but without having attained their object. After 
copulation, the female searches for the green plants which will 
ensure a long caterpillar life for her offspring. There she de- 
posits her fecundated eggs in considerable numbers and then 
expires in her turn, like a faded flower which has fulfilled the 
object of its existence and falls after leaving the fruit in its place. 

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

In the lower organisms, love consists only in sexual instinct 
or appetite. As soon as the function is accomplished love dis- 
appears. It is only in the higher animals that we see a more or 
less durable sympathy develop betw^een the two sexes. How- 
ever, here also and even in man the sexual passion intoxicates 
for the moment all the senses. In his sexual rut even man is 
dominated as by a magic influence, and for the time he sees the 
world only under the aspect inspired by this influence. The 
object loved appears to him under celestial colors, which veil all 
the defects and miseries of reality. Each moment of his am- 
orous feeling inspires sentiments which it seems to him should 
last eternally. He swears impossible things and believes in im- 
mortal happiness. A reciprocal illusion transforms life momen- 
tarily into mirages of paradise. The most common things, and 
even certain things which usually disgust him, are then the 
object of the most violent desire. But, as soon as the orgasm is 
ended and the appetite satisfied the feeling of satiety appears. 



76 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

A curtain falls on the scene, and, at least for the moment, repose 
and reality reappear. 

Such are, in a few words, the general phenomena of the nor- 
mal sexual appetite among sexual organisms in the whole of 
living nature. I am not speaking here of degenerations, such 
as onanism and prostitution. Let us now analyze this appetite 
further. 

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

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

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 77 

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

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

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

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

Puberty. Awakening of the Sexual Instinct in Boys. — Sooner 
or later in different individuals, the boy pays attention to his 
erections, which are at first produced in a reflex and involun- 



78 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

tary manner. Mental development and reflection, so precocious in 
man, are causes which draw attention to the differences of the 
sexes before the sexual appetite is developed. It is, however, 
the first signs of this appetite which concentrate the attention 
on these differences, for in their absence, the boy is more indif- 
ferent to them than to the straight or crooked form of a nose. 
Man has the habit of passing by without notice anything which 
does not interest him, and this is why we find, in individuals 
whose sexual appetite is developed late or feebly, an indifference 
and ignorance in these matters which appear almost incredible 
to those whose sexual appetite is precocious and violent ; while, 
on the contrary, the lively interest which the latter show in 
everything concerning the sexes appears foolish and absurd to 
the sexually indifferent. 

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 79 

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

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

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

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

In natural or savage man, as well as in animals, the boy then 

i makes attempts at coitus and soon attains his object, for, in 

the state of nature, man marries as soon as puberty is attained. 

Nocturnal Emissions. — In civilized man such difficulties are 

' opposed to marriage, that he replaces it by prostitution, or by 

!more or less unnatural means, as soon as his sexual appetite 

! becomes strong. In those who abstain, the images produced by 

sexual excitation, combined with erections, act more strongly 



80 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

during sleep than waking and produce ejaculations of semen 
called nocturnal emissions or pollutions. These generally occur 
during erotic dreams, and as the dreams produce the illusion of 
real perception, in quality as well as in intensity, it is not sur- 
prising that they are followed by an orgasm and ejaculation of 
semen. 

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

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

External Signs of the Sexual Appetite. — Like every other desire 
the sexual appetite betrays itself by the physionomy. This 
consists in the play of cerebral activity, that is the thoughts, 
sentiments -and resolutions, on the muscles by means of motor 
nerves and nerve centers. It is not limited to the face but ex- 
tends to the whole body. The abdomen, the hands and even 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 81 

the feet have their physionomy; that of the muscles of the face 

and eyes is, however, the most active and most expressive. 

Sexual desire betrays itself in looks, by the expression of the 

face and by certain movements in the presence of the female 

sex. Men differ greatly in the way in which they betray or 

, hide their sentiments and thoughts by the play of their muscles, 

t so that the inner self is not always reflected without. Moreover, 

i the expression of sexual desire by the play of the physionomy 

may be confounded with that of other sentiments, so that one 

who appears libidinous is not always so in reality, and inversely. 

Continence in Man. — Abstinence or sexual continence is by 

; no means impracticable for a normal young man of average con- 

j stitution, assiduous in intellectual and physical work, abstaining 

I from all artificial excitations, especially from all narcotics and 

I alcohol in particular, for these substances paralyze the judg- 

: ment and will. When sexual maturity is complete, that is after 

.about twenty years, continence is usually facilitated by noc- 

jturnal emissions accompanied by corresponding dreams. The 

' health does not suffer from these in any way. However, in the 

long run this state cannot be considered as normal, especially 

I when there is no hope of it coming to an end in a reasonable 

[time. What is much more abnormal are the numerous artificial 

[sexual excitations that civilization brings with it. 

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



82 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

As regards sexual power we must distinguish between that of 
copulation and that of fecundation. The power may exist with- 
out the latter, when the testicles have ceased to functionate, 
while the other glands, in particular the prostate, second the 
venereal orgasm by their secretion, when the power of erection 
is still preserved. Inversely, the testicles may contain healthy 
spermatozoa in the impotent. In this case artificial fecunda- 
tion by the syringe is practicable. 

Individual Variations in Sexual Power. — The fact that there 
are men who for several years can copulate several times a day 
proves to what extent sexual power varies in man. Sexual 
excitation and desire may sometimes attain such a degree that 
they are repeated a few minutes after ejaculation. It is not 
rare for a man to perform coitus ten or fifteen times in a single 
night, in brothels and elsewhere, although such excess borders 
on the domain of pathology. I know a case in which coitus 
was performed thirty times. I was once consulted by an old 
woman of 65 who complained of the insatiable sexual appetite 
of her husband, aged 73! He awakened her every morning at 
three o'clock to have connection, before going to work. Not 
content ^dth this, he repeated the performance every evening 
and often also after the mid-day meal. Inversely, I have seen 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 83 

healthy looking husbands, at the age of greatest sexual power, 
accuse themselves of excess for having cohabited with their 
wives once a month or less. The reformer, Luther, who was a 
practical man, laid down the average rule of two or three con- 
nections a week in marriage, at the time of highest sexual power. 
I may say that my numerous observations as a physician have 
generally confirmed this rule, which seems to me to conform 
very well to the normal state to which man has become gradually 
adapted during thousands of years. 

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

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

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

Excitation and Cooling of the Sexual Appetite. — Without touch- 
ing the domain of pathology, I must again dwell on the great 



84 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

individual diversity of the objects of the male sexual appetite. 
It is usually young but mature female forms of healthy appear- 
ance, and especially the sight of the nudity of certain parts of 
the body which are usually covered, particularly the breasts and 
sexual organs, which most strongly excite the sexual appetite in 
man. It is the same with the corresponding odors. The voice, 
the physionomy, the clothing and many other details may also 
provoke his desires. There are, however, men who are more 
expited by thin and pale women. 

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

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 85 

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

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

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



86 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 87 

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

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

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



88 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

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

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



i 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 89 

artifices, intended to excite even the most pathological appe- 
tites. 

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

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

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

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

It is astonishing that the results of such abominable deviation 
of the sexual appetite are not worse. No doubt excesses dis- 
turb the ties of marriage and of the family, and often provoke 
impotence and other disorders of the sexual functions. It must, 
however, be admitted that their satellites, the venereal diseases, 
and their most common companion, alcoholism, are in reality 
the greatest destroyers of health, and make much more consid- 



90 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

erable ravages in society than the artificial increase and abnor- 
mal deviations of the sexual appetite itself. However, the latter 
by themselves very often poison the mind and social morality, 
as we shall have occasion to see. 

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

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

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

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

Hereditary pathological dispositions play a considerable role 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 91 

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

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

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

We are not dealing here with cases in which a new passion 



92 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

Although the organic phenomenon of the accumulation of 
semen in the seminal vesicles is absent in w^oman, there is pro- i 
duced in the nerve centers, after prolonged abstinence, an accu- I 
mulation of sexual desire corresponding to that of man. A { 
married woman confessed to me, w'hen I reproached her for be- I 
ing unfaithful to her husband, that she desired coitus at least 
once a fortnight, and that w^hen her husband was not there, she 
took the first comer. No doubt the sentiments of this woman 
were hardly feminine, but her sexual appetite w^as relatively ' 
normal. 

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 93 

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

: Nature of the Sexual Appetite in Woman. — The zone of sexual 

\ excitation is less specially limited to the sexual organs in woman 

' than in man. The nipples constitute in her an entire zone and 

' their friction excites voluptuousness. If we consider the im- 

, portance in the life of woman, of pregnancy, suckling, and all 

i the maternal functions, we can understand why the mixture of 

; her sentiments and sensations is so different from that of man. 

j Her smaller stature and strength, together with her passive role 

in coitus, explain why she aspires to a strong male support. 

This is simply a question of natural phylogenetic adaptation. 

This is why a young girl sighs for a courageous, strong and enter- 

, prising man, who is superior to her, whom she is obliged to 

I respect, and in whose arms she feels secure. Strength and skill 

I in man are the ideal of the young savage and uncultured girl, his 

I intellectual and moral superiority that of the young cultivated 

girl, y 



94 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

As a rule women are much more the slaves of their instincts 
and habits than men. ^n primitive peoples, hardiness and bold- 
ness in men were qualities which made for success. This ex- 
plains why, even at the present day, the boldest and most 
audacious Don Juans excite most strongly the sexual desires of 
women, and succeed in turning the heads of most young girls, 
in spite of their worst faults in other respects. Nothing is more 
repugnant to the feminine instinct than timidity and awkward- 
ness in man. In our time women become more and more 
enthusiastic over the intellectual superiority of man, which 
excites their desire. Without being indifferent to it, simple 
bodily beauty in man excites the appetite of women to a less 
extent. It is astonishing to see to what point women often 
become enamored of old, ugly or deformed men. We shall see 
later on that the normal woman is much more particular than 
man in giving her love./ While the normal man is generally 
attracted to coitus by nearly every more-or-less young and 
healthy woman, this is by no means the case in the normal 
woman with regard to man. She is also much more constant 
than man from the sexual point of view. It is rarely possible 
for her to experience sexual desire for several men at once; her 
senses are nearly always attracted to one lover only. 
■^The instinct of procreation is much stronger in woman than 
in man, and is combined with the desire to give herself pas- 
sively, to play the part of one who devotes herself, who is con- 
quered, mastered and subjugated. These negative aspirations 
form part of the normal sexual appetite of woman./ 

A peculiarity of the sexual sentiments of woman is an ill- 
defined pathological phenomenon with normal sensations, a 
phenomenon which in man, on the contrary, forms a very 
marked contrast with the latter; I refer to the homosexual 
appetite, in which the object is an individual of the same sex. 
Normally, the adult man produces on another man an absolutely 
repulsive effect from the sexual point of view; it is only patho- 
logical subjects, or those excited by sexual privation who are 
affected with sensual desires for other men. But in woman a 
certam sensual desire for caresses, connected more or less with 
unconscious and iU-defined sexual sensations, is not limited to 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 95 

the male sex but extends to other women, to children, and even 
to animals, apart from pathologically inverted sexual appetites. 
Young normal girls often like to sleep together in the same bed, 
to caress and kiss each other, which is not the case with normal 
young men. In the male sex such sensual caresses are nearly 
always accompanied and provoked by sexual appetite, which is 
not the case in women. As we have already seen, man may 
separate true love from the sexual appetite to such an extent 
that two minds, each feeling in a different way, may inhabit the 
same brain. A man may be a loving and devoted husband and 

I at the same time satisfy his animal appetites with prostitutes. 
In woman, such sexual dualism is much more rare and always 

I unnatural, the normal woman being much less capable than 

' man of separating love from sexual appetite. 

These facts explain the singular caprices of the sexual 

i appetite and orgasm in the normal woman, in whom these 
phenomena are not easily produced without love. 

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

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



96 ') THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

In widows, two strong sentiments struggle against each other, 
with variable results in different individuals; on the one hand, 
feminine constancy in love, and the memory of the deceased; 
on the other hand, the acquired habit of sexual connection and 
its voluptuous sensations, which leaves a void and appeals for 
compensation. The sexual appetite being equal, the first senti- 
ment prevails generally in religious women or those of a deeply 
moral or sentimental character, while the second prevails in 
women of more material or less-refined nature, or in those 
simply guided by their reason. In these internal struggles, the 
more delicate sentiments and the stronger will of the woman 
result from the fact that when she wishes she can overcome her 
appetites much better than man. But, in spite of this, the power 
of the sexual appetite plays an important part in the inward 
struggle we have just mentioned. When this appetite is absent 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 97 

there is no struggle, and the widow's conduct is dictated either 
by her own convenience, or by the instinct which naturally 
leads a woman to yield to the amorous advances of a man. 

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

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

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

The psychology of prostitutes is very peculiar. Attempts t(K 
restore them to a moral life nearly always fail hopelessly; it is 
rare to see them permanently successful. Most of these women 
have a heredity of bad quality and are of weak character, idle 
and libidinous. They find it much easier to gain their living by 



98 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

prostitution, and forget their work, if they have ever learned 
any. The poverty, drunkenness and shame which follow se- 
duction and illegitimate birth have no doubt di'iven more than 
one prostitute to her sad trade, but the naturally evil disposi- 
tions of these women constitute without any doubt the principal 
cause. Alcohol, venereal diseases and bad habits, combined 
with continually repeated sexual degradation, afterwards deter- 
mine progi'essive decadence. 

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

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

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

I have dwelt so much on this point because it is essential to 
know the differences which exist between man and woman in 
this respect, and to take them into account if we wish to give a 

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 99 

just and healthy judgment on the sexual question from the social 
point of view. The more it is our duty to give the same rights 
to both sexes, the more absurd it is to disregard the profound- 
ness of their differences and to imagine that these can ever be 
effaced. 

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

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

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

Flirtation comprises all the sport of love, kisses, caresses and 
all kinds of sexual excitation even to orgasm, without reaching 
the consurmnation of coitus. All degrees may be noted; and, 
according to temperament, flirtation may be limited to slight 
excitation of the sexual appetite or may extend to violent and 
rapidly increasing emissions. The considerable individual differ- 
ences which exist in sexual sensibility result in the same percep- 
tion or the same act having little effect on one individual, while 
it excites another to a high degree. In the latter case, especially 



100 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

in man, flirtation may even lead to venereal orgasm without 
coitus, and even without any manipulations which resemble it. 
A woman of exuberant form, assuming sensual and voluptuous 
attitudes, may thus provoke an ejaculation by the slight and 
repeated friction of her dress against the penis of an excitable 
dancer. 

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

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

This dumb conversation of the sexual appetite begins at first 
in a prudent and apparently innocent manner, so that the act- 
ing party does not risk being taxed with impropriety; but as 
soon as he who began the flirtation perceives that his slight 
invitations are welcome he grows bolder, a tacit mutual agree- 
ment is established, and the game continues without a single 
word betraying the reciprocal sensations. Many who practice 
flirtation, both men and women, avoid betraying themselves by 
words, and they take pleasure in this mutual excitation of their 
genital sensibility, however incomplete it may be. 
/ Flirtation may assume very different forms according to 
education and temperament. The action of alcohol on the 
brain develops the coarsest forms of flirtation. Every one 
knows the clumsy embraces of semi-intoxicated persons which 
can often be seen at night or on Sundays and holidays, in the 
street or in railway carriages, etc. I designate these by the 



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 101 

term "alcoholic flirtation." Even in the best and most refined 
society flu-tation loses its delicacy even under the effect of the 
slightest degree of alcoholic intoxication. 

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

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

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

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

This last phenomenon leads us to distinguish between flirta- 
tion in man and in woman. For woman it constitutes the only 
permissible way of expressing erotic sentiments, and even then 
much restraint is imposed on her. Circumstances develop in 



102 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

her the art of flirtation and give it remarkable finesse. Un- 
less she exposes herself to great danger, woman can only leave 
her sensuaUty to be guessed. Eveiy audacious and tactless 
provocation fails in its object, it drives away the men and 
destroys a young girl's reputation. Even when possessed by 
the most violent erotic desire woman cannot ostensibly depart 
from her passive role without compromising herself. Neverthe- 
less, she succeeds on the whole very easily in exciting the pas- 
sions of man, by the aid of a few artifices. No doubt she does 
not entirely dominate him by this means. She must be very 
delicate and adi'oit, at any rate at first, in the provocative art 
of flirtation. These frivolities are greatly facilitated by her 
whole nature and by the character of her habitual eroticism. 
Man, on the other hand, may be more audacious in the expres- 
sion of his passion. This brings us back to what has been said 
concerning the sexual differences. 

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

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



THE SEXUAL APPETITE 103 

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



CHAPTER V 

LOVE AND OTHER IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE IN i 

THE HUMAN MIND i 

( 

I 

Generalities. Jealousy. — We have seen that the mechanism of 
the appetites consists in instincts inherited from our animal 
ancestors by mnemic engraphia and selection, and that it is i 
situated in the primordial or lower cerebral centers (basal 
ganglia, spinal cord, etc.). In some of the lower animals we 
already find other instinctive nervous reactions which consti- 
tute the indirect effects or derivatives of the sexual appetite. I 
The most evident of these is jealousy, or the feeling of grief and 
anger produced in an individual when the object of his sexual 
appetite is disputed by another individual of the same sex. ^ 
Jealousy may also arise from other instincts, such as those of 
nutrition, ambition, etc.; but it forms one of the most t3TDical 
complements of the sexual appetite, and leads, as we know, 
to furious combats, especially between males, sometimes also 
between females. 

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

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

104 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 105 

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

In higher stages of the animal kingdom sentiments of sym- /. ;■' 
pathy may be observed, derived from the sexual union of indi- 
viduals. These are sentiments of attachment of the male for 
the female, and especially of the female (sometimes the male ' ^^ 

also) for their progeny. 

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

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

Jealousy is only a special form of this anger. The sentiment 



106 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of anger and its violent and hostile expression constitute the 
natural reaction against one who disturbs a sentiment of 
pleasure, a reaction which tends to reestablish the latter. The 
power of the sentiment of anger increases with the offensive and 
defensive faculties, while, m weak and peaceful beings, terror 
and sadness to a great extent take theu place. On the other 
hand, the sight of defenseless prey suffices to provoke, in the 
rapacious who are strong and well armed, by simple reflex asso- 
ciation, a cruel sentiment of voluptuous anger, which is also 
observed in man. 

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

These phenomena exist both in the male and in the female, 
and if it was not so, the accomplishment of duty would be impos- 
sible; the cat would run away instead of defending her young; 
would eat her prey instead of giving it to them, etc. We thus 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 107 

see the elements of human social sentiment already very marked 
in many animals. Remorse and repentance can only be formed 
on the basis of preexisting sentiments of sympathy. 

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

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

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



108 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

Phylogeny of Love. — The social life of ants ofTers us some in- 
structive analogies. In spite of the intense hostility of different 
colonies of ants among themselves, there may be obtained by 
habitude, often after many desperate combats, alliances between 
colonies which were hitherto enemies, even between colonies of 
different species. These alliances henceforth become perma- 
nent. This is very curious to observe at the time when the 
alliance begins to be formed. We then see certain individual 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 109 

hatreds persist, to a varying extent, for several days. Certain 
individuals of the weaker party are maltreated by other indi- 
viduals of the conquering party. They cut off their limbs and 
antennae and often martyrize them to death with a rabidness 
that sadly resembles human sentiments! Hatred and dispute 
between individuals of the same colony of ants are, on the 
other hand, extremely rare. I can guarantee the correctness of 
all these observations, having often repeated them myself and 
having recorded them in my works on the habits of ants. More- 
over, they have since been confirmed by other writers. 

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

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

On the other hand, we must avoid exaggerating the actual 
importance of this influence. Young children, who possess 
neither sexual appetite nor corresponding sen^tions, already 
give evidence not only of intense sentiments of sympathy and 
antipathy, anger and jealousy, but also of commiseration, when 
they see those whom they love suffer; they may even show 
that they already possess the sentiment of duty or disinterested 
devotion. All these phylogenetic derivatives of the sentiments 
of sexual attraction are thus developed in the individual long 
before the sexual instinct itself, from which they have become 



110 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

absolutely mdependent. This does not prevent them being 
powerfully influenced by the sexual instinct when this awakes, 
or from being associated with its direct derivatives when the 
sexual appetite, properly so-called, is absent. Thus we see 
absolutely cold women become loving and devoted wives and 
mothers, and possessing a highly developed sense of kinship. 
Maternal love is a sentiment of sympathy derived from the 
sexual sentiment, adapted directly to children, who are the 
products of sexual life. 

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

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

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 111 

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

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

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

Even when they are relatively true, love stories generally 



v/ 



112 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

deal with exceptional cases, often even pathological; for the 
average marriage does not appear to the novelist sufficiently 
piquant or interesting to captivate his readers. We are not con- 
cerned here with extremes, or with the tragic situations met 
with in novels, but with normal and ordinary love, as it most 
often occurs in reality. 

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

Let us here recall a law of the sentiments of sympathy, a law 
which is well known, but generally forgotten in human calcula- 
tions. Man loves best those to whom he devotes himself, and 
not those from whom he receives benefits.* It is easy to be 
convinced of the reality of this fact in the relations of parents 
to their children, as well as in marriage. ^\Tien one of the con- 
joints in marriage adulates the other, the latter may easily find 
this adulation quite natural, and may love the other conjoint 
much less than a spoilt child, to which is devoted all the trans- 
ports of an unreasonable affection. The spoilt child, the object 
of such blind affection, more often responds to it by indiffer- 
ence, or even by ingratitude, disdain and impertinence. We 
find everywhere this play of sentiments, which considerably 
impedes mutuahty in love. It may even concern inanimate 

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 113 

objects. We like a garden, a house or a book over which we 
have taken much pains, and we remain indifferent to the most 
beautiful and precious gifts which come by themselves without 
our making any effort to obtain them. In the same way, the 
child becomes attached to some toy which he has made him- 
self, and disdains the costly presents given by his parents. As a 
poet has said: "Man only enjoys for long and without remorse 
the goods dearly paid for by his efforts." (Sully-Prudhomme : 
'' Le Bonheur.") 

There is, therefore, a profound psychology in the old and wise 
sa3dng that true love expresses itself as often by refusal as by 
compliance, and should always associate itself with reason. No 
doubt this is not primitive love; it is a love elevated and purified 
by its combination with the elements of intelligence. 

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

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



114 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 115 

moral principles, and to lead him occasionally to visit prosti- 
tutes. Although they have become essentially strangers to 
each other, the husband and wife continue to live together an 
apparently happy life ; but this is far from always the case. 

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

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

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

PSYCHIC IRRADIATIONS OF LOVE IN MAN 

Masculine Audacity. — In the normal male the sentiment of 
sexual power favors self-exaltation, while the contrary senti- 
ment of impotence, or even that of mediocre sexual power, de- 
presses this sentiment of exaltation. Yet, in reality, the sexual 
power of man has not the capital importance for a normal and 
virgin woman that men imagine, influenced as they are by self- 



116 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

exaltation; what imposes on women is especially masculine 
audacity, and in sexual matters this increases with experience 
and practice. The company of prostitutes often renders men 
incapable of understanding feminine psychology, for prostitutes 
are hardly more than automata trained for the use of male 
sensuality. When men look among these for the sexual psy- 
chology of woman they only find their own mirror. 
>^an's flirtation, and his art of paying court to women are 
naturally combined w^th his audacity, as we have already ob- 
served in birds and mammals, and some of the lower animals. 
The male seeks to please the female to gain her favors. The 
brilliant colors of butterflies and birds, song, skill and proof of 
strength, often come to the aid of the male sexual instinct. 
Even in certain animals supplicant and plaintive sounds assist 
the male after his repeated refusal, apparently or in reality, by 
the female. We shall see in Chapter VI that savage men have 
a much greater tendency to tattoo and adorn themselves than 
have the women.^^ 

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

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

y^ Instinct of Procreation. — Another irradiation of the male sex- 
ual instinct, connected with the preceding, is the instinct of 
procreation. If there were no other difficulties or consequences, 
man would without the least doubt be instinctively inclined to 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 117 

copulate with as many women as he could, and procreate as 
many children as possible. The more he is capable of satisfy- 
ing his procreative instinct, the more he becomes self-exalted, as 
he thus sees himself multiplied and feels his power extended by 
the possession of a great number of wives and children. This 
is one of the principal causes which urge rich men and polyga- 
mous peoples to possess many v^omen.y^ 

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

Jealousy. — The worst irradiation, or rather the worst reacX. 
tion of contrast of love, which we have inherited from our ani- 
mal ancestors, and that which is the most deeply rooted, is 
jealousy. Jealousy is a heritage of animals and barbarism; that 
is what I would say to all those who, in the name of offended 
honor, would grant it rights and even place it on a pedestal. It 
is ten times better for a woman to marry an unfaithful than a 
jealous husband. From the phylogenetic point of view, jeal- 
ousy originates in the struggle for the possession of woman, at 
a period when right depended only on brute force. Cunning 
and violence contended with each other, and when the con- 
queror was in possession of a female, he had to guard her jeal- 
ously to prevent her being abducted. Furious combats ensued. 



118 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

As soon as an unaccustomed approach, a look or anything else 
awakened the least suspicion of the presence of a rival, the male 
was tormented with a continual and instinctive feeling of 
defiance and distrust, often increased by the remembrance of 
the sadness of former defeats and the impotent rage which 
followed, 
^^^^e results of male jealousy in the history of marriage are 
truly incredible. I may mention the iron girdles with locks — 
the so-called girdles of chastity — which we still see in certain 
museums, which the knights of the Middle Ages put on their 
wives when they set off to the wars, in order to appease their 
jealousy. Many savage peoples do not content themselves 
with severely punishing adultery in woman, even by death, 
but even simple conversations with a strange mam**^ Jealousy 
transforms marriage into a hell. It is often exalted in man to 
the point of a mania for persecution, to which it is analogous. 
It is also a very common symptom of alcoholism. Then the 
life of the unfortunate woman who is the object of it becomes a 
continual mart3Tdom. Perpetual suspicion accompanied by 
insults, threats and violent words, and even homicide may be 
the result of this atrocious passion. 

Even in its more moderate and normal form, jealousy is a 
torment, for distrust and suspicion poison love. We often hear 
of justified jealousy; I maintain, on the contrary, that jealousy 
is never justified, and that it is only the brutal stupidity of an 
atavistic heritage, or a pathological symptom. A reasonable 
man who has doubts as to the fidelity of his wife has certainly 
the right to assure himself of their correctness. But of what 
use is it to be jealous? If he finds his suspicions false he has, 
by his manner, made his wife unnecessarily unhappy and de- 
stroyed conjugal confidence and happiness. If, on the con- 
trary, his suspicions are well founded he has only to choose 
between one of two ways. If it is a case of amorous intoxica- 
tion suggested by another man to his wife, who is often very 
unhappy about it, she may then be restored to her husband 
and pardoned, for in this case affection only can cure her, never 
jealousy. If, however, love for her husband is entirely extin- 
guished in her, or if she is only a false intriguer without char- 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 119 

acter, jealousy is even more absurd, for the game is not worth 
the candle, and immediate divorce is necessary. 

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

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

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



120 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 121 

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

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

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

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

Owing to its usually sensual and gross nature, male eroticism 
has succeeded in modeling a whole class of women in whom ideal 
character in their desires is wanting. Instead of recognizing 
his own work and the vile image of his own person in these un- 
natural women, the libertine, as we have already seen, imagines 
them as the normal type of woman. From the height of his 
presumption, he then despises woman and does not perceive 
that it is himself whom he despises; for on the whole, from the 
sexual point of view, the dependent woman of to-day conforms 
herself to man and becomes what he makes her. The number 
of coitus, their details, the size and form of the sexual organs, 



122 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

the pleasure of having cut out other men, and especially the 
pathological perversions of the sexual appetite, form the chief 
object of the thoughts and conversations of pornographic minds. 
Each tries to outdo the others in sexual enormities, and the 
virtuosity of these gentlemen in this domain is only surpassed 
by their ignorance and incapacity in all others. 

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

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

Eroticism is no more a vice than sexual anaesthesia is a wtue. 
Even when they are chaste, men of libidinous nature require a 
strong ^\'ill to resist all the artificial seductions which excite their 
sensuaUty. This is why the bog of del3aucher5' engulfs so many 
men of a naturally good nature. In this sense, cold natures are 
better off; they can cover themselves with the glory of a '' virtue " 
the resplendent rays of which become lost in a penumbra of 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 123 

defects and weaknesses from which these natures suffer in other 
domains. 

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

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

Those who have not been witnesses of such events may hardly 
believe them. It is sufficient, however, to be a magistrate or 
to read the reports of lawsuits between debased persons as the 
result of love quarrels, broken engagements or marriages, seduc- 
tions, etc., to study the letters that the two parties have wiitten 
before and after their quarrel, in order to be convinced of the 
correctness of what we have said above. In the first letters the 
lovers adulate each other and adorn each other "with the most 
hyperbolic epithets, swearing eternal love and fidelity, and de- 
luding each other in the most absurd manner. In letters written 
sometimes only a few days later we are astonished to see the 
same individuals grossly insulting each other and mutually cov- 
ering themselves with ignoble calumnies. This is how passion 
without reason passes through the furnaces of love and hatred, 
dragging after it all the artificial scaffolding of what man imag- 
ines to be his right based on logic, but which is in reality only a 



124 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

tissue of ridiculous contradictions, the automatic and inept 
product of his emotional state. Such contrasts are so frequent 
that we can easily recognize the expression of a psychological 
law, due to the mirages of the amorous passions on the one hand 
and the inverse reaction on the other. 

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

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

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

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

The worst of hypocrisies is that which is the product of base 
pecuniary interests, or of a gross sexual appetite without love, 
or lastly by the pressure of conventional or religious customs. 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 125 

Good hypocrisy consists in the repression of all that is base in 
the sentiments, inclinations and passions; in the fact that one 
strives to hide it from others, even from one's self, and to sug- 
gest in its place as many amiable qualities as possible, so as to 
strengthen in a disinterested maimer the object of one's love in 
noble sentiments. This kind of h3'pocrisy is in reality an indi- 
rect product of altruistic sentiments. One perceives with pain 
on reflecting, either the absence of spontaneous sentiments of 
sympathy, or the presence of disgust and bad temper, and 
one strives to hide the thing by sympathetic expressions for 
which one seeks an object, and to which one would wish to 
give a durable character. Loyal efforts made in this direction 
often succeed in correcting the egoistic humor with which one 
is affected, and in giving rise to the sentiments one desires to 
experience. One must not, however, by only looking at one 
side of the question, allow such efforts to degenerate into mala- 
droit blindness, which will only have the effect of spoiling 
the person one loves. 

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

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

Intellectual occupations are facilitated by a happy love, while 
they are usually hindered by the sorrows of love. Even men of 
science, so proud of their calmness, are often more influenced 



126 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 127 

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

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

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

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

The Old Bachelor. — ^The importance of the psychic irradiar 
tions of love is shown perhaps more clearly from the results of 
their presence in old bachelors than from any other considera- 
tion. In our time, no doubt, the state of the old bachelor 
rarely means the renunciation of the satisfaction of sexual 
appetite, although it generally entails the renunciation of love. 
There are, no doubt, two kinds of old bachelors, those who are 



128 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

chaste and those who are not. The old bachelor no doubt 
leads a less empty existence than the old maid, but the void 
exists none the less. Man also needs compensation for the 
absence of love and family, but his brain is more capable than 
that of woman of finding this compensation in hard intellectual 
work or in some other employment. 

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

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

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

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

PSYCHIC IRRADIATIONS OF LOVE IN WOMEN 

In speaking of love in man we have already touched on many 
points which differentiate it from that of woman. In the latter, 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 129 

the most prominent peculiarity is the dominant role which it 
plays in the brain. Without love woman abjures her nature 
and ceases to be normal. 

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

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

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

Between these two extremes there exists a category of un- 
married women whose sexual love finds compensation in the love 
they bear for a parent or a friend (male or female), which 
although not sexual is none the less ardent. Such occupation 
for their sentiments improves their state of mind and partially 
fills the void; however, it is not sufficient as a rule and only 
constitutes a last resource. This kind of devotion, by its exclu- 
siveness, often produces bad results, for its horizon is too limited. 
If the object of love, which is generally too pampered, dies or 



130 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

abandons her, she loses her head; grief, bitterness and pessi- 
mism never leave her, unless she finds consolation in religious 
exaltation, which is often observed in other women deprived of 
love. This last peculiarity is met with, moreover, in aU classes 
of women, even among the married. 

Passiveness of Woman. Sexual Appetite. — Ideal love should 
never be dual egoism. What happens when two persons live 
exclusively for each other, if one of them dies? The survivor 
sinks into inconsolable despair, all that his heart was attached 
to is dead, because his love did not extend to other human 
beings, nor to social works. Widows then become as pitiable 
as old maids, although in another way, when they have lost 
the object of their exclusive love. This is why we recom- 
mend social work, not only for celibates, but also for loving 
copies. 
^\ again emphasize the fact that in normal women, especially 
young girls, the sexual appetite is subordinate to love. In the 
young girl love is a mixture of exalted admiration for masculine 
courage and grandeur, and an ardent desire for affection and 
maternity. /She wishes to be outwardly dominated by a man, 
but to dominate him by her heart. This sentimentalism of the 
, young girl, joined to the passive role of her sex, produces in her 
\ a state of exaltation which often borders on ecstasy and then 
overcomes all the resistance of will and reason. The woman 
surrenders herself to the man of whom she is enamored, or who 
has conquered or hypnotized her. She is vanquished by his 
embraces and follows him submissively, and in such a state of 
mind she is capable of any folly. 

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

I cannot protest too strongly against the way in which men 
of the day disparage women and misunderstand them. In the 
way in which a young girl abandons herself to their sexual ap- 
petites, in caresses, and in the ecstasy of her love, they think 
they see the proof of a purely sensual eroticism, identical to their 
libidinous desire for coitus, while in reality she usually does not 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 131 

think of it, at any rate at first. The first coitus is usually painful 
to woman, often repugnant. Many are the cases where young 
girls, even when they knew the terrible social and individual 
dangers of their weakness, even when they have perhaps once 
already experienced the consequences, let the man abuse them 
without a word of complaint, without a trace of sexual pleasure 
or venereal orgasm, simply to please the one who desireg. them, 
because he is so good and amiable, and because refusal would 
give him so much pain. In his violent passion and in his egoism, 
man is generally incapable of understanding the power of this 
stoicism of a mind which surrenders itself in spite of all dangers 
and all its interests. He confounds his own appetites with the 
sentiments of the woman, and finds in this false interpretation 
of feminine psychology the excuses for the cowardice of which 
he gives proof when he yields to his passions. The psychology 
of the young girl who surrenders herself has been admira- 
bly depicted by Goethe in Gretchen ("Faust"), as weU as by 
de Maupassant on several occasions. 

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

I shall say no more concerning eroticism, which really exists 
in many women, especially in those who are already experienced 
in sexual matters. On the other hand there are women who 
deceive their husbands and allow themselves to be seduced by 
any Don Juan, even when they have never had the least sexual 
appetite, or felt a single venereal orgasm. They allow them- 
selves to be di'agged in the mud and lose then" reputation, their 
fortune and their family; they even let their seducer trample 
them under foot; they become defamed and treated as women 
without character, without honor and without any notion of 
duty. They are simply poor feeble creatures incapable of 



132 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

resisting masculine proposals. With good psychological training 
they would often become better women, active, devoted and 
full of life. It seems hardly credible, but it is true, that one 
sometimes finds in this category women who are highly gifted. 
It is then said that they are wanting in moral sense, but this is 
not always correct. In other respects they may be faithful to 
their duty, devoted, sometimes even energetic and heroic; but 
they submit to masculine influence to such a degree that they 
cannot conceive how to resist it. They find it quite natural to 
give way to it and their mind does not understand that the com- 
plete abandonment of their body to the man they love should 
not necessarily follow immediately after the abandonment of 
their heart, or even after the first kiss. It is impossible for 
them to make distinctions or to trace limits. 

Idealism in Woman. — The cases I have just described are ex- 
treme, although very common; they give the note of a general 
phenomenon of feminine love in its exaltation. It is needless 
to say that reasonable women of high character behave them- 
selves in quite another manner, however profound their love. 
Nevertheless the trait which we have just described is nearly 
always found at the bottom of all true love in woman, however 
much it may be veiled, dissimulated or conquered. 
^^It is not always audacity or heroic deeds like those of the bold 
cavaliers of former days which excite love in woman. The ex- 
ternal qualities of man, such as beauty and elegance, etc., also 
play a part, although their effect may be less decisive than that 
lof the bodily charms of woman in exciting love in man. Intel- 
lectual superiority, high moral actions, and mental qualities in 
j general, easily affect the heart of woman, which becomes exalted 
■under their influence. But every man who becomes famous 
Neither for good or evil, the fashionable actor, the celebrated 
tenor, etc., has the power of exciting love in women. Women 
without education or those of inferior mental quality are nat- 
urally more easily affected by the bodily strength of man, and 
by his external appearance in general. Many women are espe- 
cially liable to succumb under the influence of all that is mystic. 
These become infatuated by preachers, and religious enthusiasts, 
to say nothing of hypocrites. J ' 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 133 

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

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

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



134 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 135 

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

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

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

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

A true woman rejoices at the progress of her pregnancy. 
The last pains of childbirth have hardly ceased before she 
laughs with joy, and pride, at hearing the first cries of the newly 
born. The instinctive outburst of maternal love toward the 
new-born child corresponds to a natural imprescriptible right 
of the child, for it needs the continual care of its mother. Noth- 
ing is so beautiful in the world as the radiant joy of a young 
mother nursing her child, and no sign of degeneration is more 
painful than that of mothers who abandon their cliildren without 
absolute necessity, to strange hands. 



136 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

Sentiments and Perseverance. — The power of love in woman 
does not rest alone on the varied harmony of her sentiments of 
sympathy for her husband and children, and on the extraordi- 
nary finesse and natural tact which she adds to it; such quahties 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 137 

make her, no doubt, the ray of sunshine in the family hfc; but 
more powerful still are the tenacity and perseverance of her love. 

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

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

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

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

Routine. — The reverse of the irradiations of love in woman is 
constituted by her failings, which we have already partly indi- 
cated. We may add that her intelligence is usually superficial, 
that she attributes an exaggerated importance to trifles, that she 
often does not understand the object of ideal conceptions, and 



138 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

remains attached by routine to all her hobbies. This routine 
represents in feminine psychology the excess of a tenacious will 
applied only to the repetition of what has been taught. In the 
family, woman constitutes the conservative element because 
sentiment in her much more than in man, combined with perse- 
vering tenacity, predominates over intelligence; but sentiments 
represent everywhere and always the conservative element in 
the human mind. 

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

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

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



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 130 

Jealousy in Woman. — Other irradiations of love in woman are 
similar to those of man. Jealousy is perhaps not much less\ 
developed in woman than in man. It is less brutal and violent 
but more instinctive and persevering; it manifests itself by 

' quarrels, needle pricks, chicanery, petty tyrannies and all kinds 
of tricks which poison existence as much as man's jealousy, 
and are quite as inefficient against infidelity. In the highest 
degree of passion the jealous man uses violence or resorts to 
firearms, while the woman scratches, poisons or stabs. Among 
savages, jealous women bite off their rivals' noses; in civilized 
countries they throw sulphuric acid in the face. The object is 

I the same in both cases — to disfigure. 

i Amorous illusions produced in woman by the sexual appetite 
are analogous to those of man, but are modified by feminine 
attributes. It is the same with hypocrisy. The passive role of 

, woman in sexual life obliges her only to betray her feelings to 

il the object of her desires in a reserved and prudent manner. 

" She cannot make advances toward man without contravening 
the conventions and risking her reputation. She therefore has 
to be more skillful in the art of dissimulation. This gives us no 
right to accuse her of falseness, for this art is natural, instinctive 
and imposed by custom. Her desire for love and maternity 
unconsciously urges her to make herself as desirable as possible 

i to man by her grace and allurements. Her stolen glances and 
sighs, and the play of her expression serve to betray her ardor 
as through a veil. Behind this furtive play, especially calcu- 

i lated to excite the passions of man, are hidden, in the natural 
and good woman, a world of delicate feelings, ideal aspirations, 
energy and perseverance, which are much more loyal and honest 
than the motives revealed by the more brusque and daring man- 
ner in which man expresses his desires. The fine phrases by 
which man's love is expressed generally cover sentiments which 
are much less pure and calculations much more egoistic than 
the relatively innocent play of the young girl. No doubt there 
are false women whose amorous wiles are only a spider's web, 
but we are speaking here of the average, and not of exceptions. 
Coquetry. — The sexual braggardism of man is only found in 
some prostitutes; it is replaced in woman by coquetry and the 



140 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

desire to please. Vain women profit by the natural grace and 
beauty of their sex and person, not only to attract and please 
men, but also to shine among their fellows, to make other 
women pale before their brilliance and their elegance. Coquettes 
take infinite pains in this art. All their efforts and all their 
thoughts are directed only to increase their charm by the bril- 
liancy of their toilette, the refinement of their attire, the ar- 
rangement of their hair, their perfumes, paint and powder, etc. 
It is here that the narrowness of the mind of woman is revealed 
in all its meanness. 

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

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

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

Natural feminine eroticism, not artificially perverted, only 
shows itself openly in complete intimacy, and even here modesty 



mRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 141 

and the aesthetic sense of woman correct and attenuate it. 
Normally, all obscenity and cynicism disgusts women and only 
inspires them with contempt for the male sex. On the other 
I hand, they are easily stimulated to eroticism by pictures or 
aovels, if they are sufficiently aesthetic, or even moral. This 
IS a great danger for both sexes, especially for woman — eroti- 
l^ism dissimulated under hypocritical forms, and intended to 
idealize dishonest intentions (vide de Maupassant: "Ce Cochon 
ie Morin"). 

Modesty and Prudery in Woman. — In woman the sentiments 
[3f modesty and prudery have a peculiar character, which results 
i'rom her natural disgust for pornography on the one hand, and 
ilso from her attachment to fashion and prejudice. Many 
svomen have a perfect terror of exposing certain parts of their 
Dody, even to a medical man. This fact depends on conven- 
:ion, and sometimes on the absence or perversion of sexual 
eclings. Brought up to prudery, sometimes to an absurd 
extent as in England, these women lose their natural feeling 
md often suffer from the excitation, indignation, and perpet- 
ial fright, which result from it. The exaggerations of prudery, 
[moreover, easily lead to opposite excesses, or else degenerate 
,^nto hypocrisy. The prude is ashamed of the most natural 
luhings, and undergoes continual torment. 
; Prudery can be created or cm'ed by education in childhood, 
'[t may be created by isolation, by covering all parts of the 
Dody, and especially by making children regard nudity as 
1 shameful. On the other hand, it may be cured by mixed bath- 
,ing, by accustoming the child to consider the human body, in 
iiU its parts and functions, as something natural of which one 
jaeed not be ashamed, lastly by giving instruction on the relations 
ji the sexes, in due time and in a serious manner, instead of 
; replying to ingenuous questions by pious falsehoods, by equivo- 
|3ation, or by an air of mystery. 

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



142 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

FETICHISM AND ANTI-FETICHISM 

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

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

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

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

In normal love, it is especially by association of ideas in calling 
to mind the image of the person loved that the fetich plays the 
part of an exciting agent. It often, however, becomes itself the 
more special object of the sexual appetite, while the anti-fetich 



IRRADIATIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE 143 

produces the opposite effect. But, in degenerates (vide Chap. 
iVIII) it is sometimes exclusively to the fetich itself that an 
; irresistible sexual appetite is addressed, the irradiation of which 
'becomes a ridiculous caricature of love. 

We thus see that normal love is based on an extremely com- 
! plex synthesis, on a symphony of harmonious sensations, senti- 
I ments and conceptions, combined in all kinds of tones and shades. 

The pathological aberrations of which we shall speak, demon- 
'strate this by forcing one tone or another to the more or less 
' marked exclusion of the rest. 

'■ PSYCHOLOGICAL RELATIONS OF LOVE TO RELIGION 

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VI 

ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE IN MAN AND IN"| 

MARRIAGE ' 

In the study of the sexual question it is absolutely necessary to^ 
guard against subjectiveness and all preconceived theory, and; 
to avoid sentimentalism as well as eroticism. These two dan- 
gers play a considerable part in the study of human sexual life. 
Presented in a conscientious and scientific way the history of 
marriage furnishes us the most trustworthy material for the 
study of the sexual relations of man in social life. It is from 
this material that we can learn the relative importance of the I 
different psychological and psycho-pathological factors in social 
evolution. But, to furnish valid material, history must not only 
be based on trustworthy and veracious sources; it must also 
give a comparative study of the sexual relations which exist in 
most, if not all, of the peoples actually existing. The present 
savage tribes no doubt resemble more closely the primitive 
peoples than our hybrid agglomeration of the civilized world. 
Moreover, the modern study of ethnology gives us more certain 
information than the uncertain, incomplete and often fabulous 
statements of ancient documents. I am speaking here of primi- 
tive history, and not of the Greek and Roman civilizations. 
Unfortunately the correctness of ethnological observations, 
and especially their interpretation, still leave much to be desired. 
Edward Westermark, professor at Helsingfors, in his " History 
of Human Marriage," has given us a monumental work, which is 
remarkable, not only for the richness and exactness of its mate- 
rial, but also for the clearness and good sense of its criticism. I 
shall give a resume of Westermark's results, as the subject is 
beyond the domain of my special studies. The author has col- 
lected a great number of observations in order to avoid erroneous 
conclusions. He warns the reader against a hasty generalization, 

144 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 145 

which attributes without proof certain customs of living savage 
tribes to our primitive ancestors. 

ORIGIN OF MARRIAGE 

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

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

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

I According to Westermark this was probably the same in 

' primitive man. Formed by the father, the mother and the 

children, the family was in primitive man a general institution, 

1 based on monogamy, polygamy or polyandry. The wife looked 

' after the children, and the husband protected the family. No 

doubt, the husband was not particularly anxious for the welfare 

of his wife and children, but concerned himself chiefly in the 

, satisfaction of his sexual appetite and his pride. He was useful, 

however, in building the nest, or hut, in procuring the necessary 

\ food, and in defending his family. 



146 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

The follo^nng is the definition of marriage as given by Wester- 
mark: Marriage is a sexual union of variable duration between 
men and women, a union which is continued after copulation, at 
least till the birth of the child. 

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

_,/^mong animals which have a definite rutting period, mar- 
riage cannot depend solely on the sexual appetite, or egoistic 
eroticism, without ceasing with the rut. It follows from this 
that natural selection and the mneme (engraphia) have derived 
from the sexual appetite certain social or altruistic instincts, 
with the object of preser\ang the species by protection of the 
young. Although not the only means of preservdng the species, 
such instincts are certainly important. 

The family is thus the root of marriage. This explains the 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 147 

custom, among certain races, of marriage only becoming valid 
after the birth of a child. In many forms of marriage by pur- 
chase, the wife is even bound to return to her husband the sum 
paid for her if she remains sterile, and among many savages the 
marriage is only celebrated after the birth of the first child. In 
Borneo, relations between the sexes are free till pregnancy oc- 
curs, and it is this which determines the duties of marriage. 
In this respect, these savages are more just and wiser than us. 
In man, a special reason in favor of marriage is the fact that 

i he has no rutting period. In animals the rutting period is gen- 
erally regulated so that the young are born exactly at the time 
of year when they will find food most abundant. For example, 

I the muscardin copulates in July and brings forth young in 

i August, at the time when nuts are ripe, while elephants, whales 
and certain monkeys, who find food at all seasons, do not copu- 
late at any definite period. 
The anthropoid apes, however, have a rutting period, and 

.something analogous is found among certain human races 

' (Calif ornians, Hindus and certain Australians) in the spring, 
when sexual orgies are indulged in. In man there is no particu- 
lar correlation between eroticism and the possibility of easily 
obtaining food for the children at the time of birth. Neverthe- 
less, a recrudescence of the sexual appetite is generally observed 

I in the spring and beginning of summer, with a corresponding 
increase in the number of conceptions. This is probably ex- 
plained by the fact that infants born in the autumn or winter 
are more robust. Moreover, natural selection has almost 

I entirely ceased in civilized peoples, owing to the artificial means 
used to rear children, and to the diminution which results from. 

1 their mortality. 

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

I ANTIQUITY OF MATRIMONIAL INSTITUTIONS 

' The fact that the anthropoid apes produce feeble and depend- 

I ent young, whose infancy is long, has probably been the origin 

of marriage. Kautsky says that in primitive man the child 



148 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

belongs to the clan; but this is an error. Originally, human 
societies were composed of families, or rather associations 
of families. In primitive man, these families play the funda- 
mental role and constitute the nucleus of society. In the anthro- 
poid ape we already find the family, but not the clan. This 
must also have been the case with the pithecanthropoids and 
other extinct transitory forms. In fact, the lowest savages still 
live as isolated families like the carnivorous mammals, rather 
than in clans or tribes. This is the case, for example, with the 
Weddas of Ceylon, the indigenes of Terra del-Fuego, the abo- 
riginal Australians, the Esquimaux and certain Indians of 
Brazil. In this way they have better conditions for subsistence. 

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

(1). At no period of human existence has family life been re- 
placed by clan life: 

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

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

CRITICISM OF THE DOCTRINE OF PROMISCUITY 

Most sociologists believe with Lubbock, Bachofen, MacLen- 
nan, Bastian, Giraud-Teulon, Wilkens, and others that primitive 
man lived in sexual promiscuity. If we agree with Westermark 
that the term marriage includes polygamy, polyandry and 
limited marriage, the opinion of these authors is wrong. What 
they have considered as promiscuity can always be included in 
one of these forms of marriage, even among the indigenes of 
Hayti, whose life is the most debauched. The author who has 
most confused the question is Fison, with his dogmatic theories' 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 149 

concerning the Australians. Obliged to admit that promis- 
cuity does not exist among these people, he still maintains that 
it existed formerly. Curr, who was better acquainted than 
Fison with the Australians, has proved that they are normally 
monogamous. 

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

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

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

In this connection Westermark points out that the more 
advanced is civilization, the greater is the number of illegiti- 
mate births, and the more widespread is prostitution. In 



150 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Europe, the proportion of natural children and of prostitutes is 
nearly double in the towns what it is in the country. This 
shows the absurdity of regarding promiscuity as a primitive 
state; on the contrary, it is a rotten fruit of civilization, and 
especially of semi-civilization. Primitive customs are generally 
chaste, and it is civilization which corrupts them. In Europe, 
prostitution is increasing, while marriage is becoming less 
frequent; it is the latter which constitutes the primitive and 
normal state. 

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

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

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

On the other hand, Lubbock mentions certain customs in 
Greece and India, the worship of phallus, for example, which 
obliged young girls to give themselves to all men. But these 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 151 

customs were not among primitive races but resulted from the 
eroticism of highly civilized nations. Thus, Lubbock's argu- 
ment concerning the existence of primitive promiscuity falls to 
the ground. 

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

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

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

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



■/ 



152 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

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

Religious ideas on the future of man after death are often 
combined with these ideas; this is why chastity, death, or even 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 153 

all kinds of torture are, in certain countries, imposed on the 
woman after death of the husband. 

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

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

MARRIAGE AND CELIBACY 

Among animals the voluntary celibate exists only among the 
females of certain birds which have become widowed, and even 
then the case is rare. In savage man, nearly every individual 
marries, and the women look upon celibacy or widowhood 
almost in the same way as death. The savage despises celibates - 
as thieves or sorcerers. In his opinion a man without a wife is 
not a man. He therefore marries at a much earlier age than 
civilized man, sometimes even (in Greenland) before fecunda- 
tion is possible. Among certain Indians men sometimes marry 
at the age of nine or ten years, generally between fourteen and 
eighteen; the girls between nine and twelve..j)i^n some com- 
paratively civilized nations the celibate is so much despised that 
they go as far as marrying the spirits of departed children! 
Among the Greeks, celibates were punished, and among the 
Romans they were taxed heavily. Celibacy becomes more rare 
the further we go back in the history of the human race; celi- 
bacy increases with the corruption of morals. It is civilization^ 
which does most harm to marriage, especially in the large towns, • 
and the age at which people marry becomes more and more ad- 
vanced, although in Europe there are more women than men. 
Want of money and insufficient salaries diminish more and more 
the number of marriages in the large centers, while among sav- 
ages, and also among our peasants, the women and children are 
one of the principal sources of wealth, because they work and 



154 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

have few needs. Among the middle classes, on the contrary, 
the wife is a source of expense, as well as the education of the 
children. For men, the length of intellectual and professional 
education (and military service in many countries) cause mar- 
riage to be postponed and celibacy is obligatory at the time 
when the sexual appetite is most powerful. Thus, the more 
civilization advances, the longer is marriage postponed. The 
refinement and the multiplicity of pleasures also diminish the 
attractions of marriage. 

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

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

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

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

Among the Hebrews, the idea of the impurity of marriage 
had got a footing, and this no doubt powerfully influenced 
Christianity. St. Paul thus places celibacy higher than mar- 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 155 

riage, and this is how the idea became established among the 
fathers of the Church that the repression of all sensuality was a 
cardinal virtue, and that God had contemplated in paradise an 
asexual reproduction of the human species, which was annulled 
by the fall of Adam. Men who remained pure were to be im- 
mortal. "The earth is filled with marriage and the heavens 
with virginity," says Jeremiah. Such are the ideas which have 
given rise to the obligation of celibacy for priests. 

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

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

ADVANCES MADE BY ONE SEX TO THE OTHER — DEMANDS IN 

MARRIAGE 

A natural law compels the male germinal cell to move toward 
the egg; exceptions to this law are rare, the female germinal 
cells being larger and produced in less number. It follows 
that in copulation, or the union of individual sexual entities, 
man included, it is the male which is the active party and makes 
the advances. Among certain tribes (Paraguayans, Garos, 
Moquis), however, it is the female who makes the advances. 
Everyone knows the combats for the female which takes place 
between the male of animals, cocks and stags .for example. 



156 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Among certain Indians similar struggles are also observed, after 
which the vanquished has to surrender his wife to the con- 
queror. The same custom obtained among the ancient Greeks, 
as we see in the suitors for Penelope. In Ireland similar cus- 
toms prevailed up to the last few centuries. 

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

METHODS OF ATTRACTION 

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

Among savages the men are more inclined to personal adorn- 
ment and to coquetry than the women. This is not due to the 
inferior social position of the women, for those who enjoy the 
greatest liberty are often less extensively tattooed than those 
who are reduced to slavery. The true reason is that the man 
risks much more than the woman by remaining celibate, and 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 157 

this obliges him to take more pains than the women to make 
himself fascinating. As a rule the wives of savages attach less 
importance to their personal appearance than to that of their 
husbands, and the vanity of the latter is guided chiefly by the 
taste of their wives. The objects with which savages adorn 
themselves are generally trophies. 

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

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



158 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of custom, for in sexual matters it is always novelty which 
attracts. Pious persons have tried to make savages modest by 
clothing them, but have only produced the contrary effect. 
Savage women regard it as shameful to cover their sexual organs. 
The naturalist, Wallace, found in one tribe a young girl who 
possessed a dress, but who was quite as much ashamed of cloth- 
ing herself \\ath it as one of our ladies would be of undressing 
before strangers. 

It is only o\^dng to the custom of wearing clothes that 
nudity provokes the sexual appetite. This- custom develops 
artificially a sentiment of modesty with regard to nudity, which 
increases progressively in intensity and is especiaUy marked in 
aged women. It is not so much habit, as to the feelmg of pro- 
gressive deterioration of their charms, which leads the latter to 
cover themselves as they grow older, and is part of the instinctive 
aesthetic sentiment of woman. 

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

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

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

To resume, everything derogatory to established custom ex- 
cites the sentiment of shame or modesty, not only in sexual mat- 
ters but in others. Most children are ashamed of not beha\ing 
exactly as their comrades or their brothers and sisters, and are 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 159 

very uncomfortable if they are obliged to behave otherwise. 
All sentiments of morality and modesty rest on conventionalities. 
The savage women burst into laughter when the naked com- 
panions of Livingstone turned their backs from modesty. The 
sentiment of modesty or shame thus depends only on excep- 
tional violation of an old custom. This is why unconventional 
ways in one of the sexes (especially in woman) tend to offend 
the sentiments of modesty, and usually excite the sexual appe- 
tite of the other sex. 

LIBERTY OF CHOICE IN MARRIAGE — PATRIARCHISM 

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

Very often, however, the consent of the woman is required; 
or, the marriage may be only valid after the birth of the first 

1 child on condition of the woman's consent. 

I Among the American Indians, if the woman is not a consent- 

; ing party she elopes with her lover and thus escapes the would- 
be-husband. In this way elopement has gradually become a 
recognized institution among certain races. I was told by a 

[ Bulgarian that the peasants in his country buy their wives from 
the father, generally for two or three hundred francs, but if the 
father demands too much, the women are raped. After this 
marriage becomes indispensable and the father receives nothing; 
for, in Bulgaria, which is not yet spoiled by civilization, unions 
apart from marriage are considered as a terrible disgrace. 

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



160 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

state of humanity the women had a much freer choice than 
afterward. Marriage by purchase developed later and consti- 
tuted an intermediate stage. T\Tien the first civilizations 
became more complicated and recognized the value of woman's 
labor, the fathers began to sell their daughters, as we now see 
savage tribes abandon their women to prostitution with the 
white man. But in primitive times, when there was neither 
civilization, money, nor labor, properly so-called, each indi\ddual 
fought for his life and the father had no more possibility of selling 
his daughter as a slave than a gorilla or an "orang-utan would 
have to-day. 

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

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

There existed and still exist many patriarchal races (certain 
Indians and Asiatics, for example) among whom the father 
possesses unlimited power. The older he is the more he is 
honored, and the more his power is uncontested. All the chil- 
dren and gi-andchildren, with their wives and children, eat at 
his table; none of his descendants can many without his con- 
sent, etc. The effects of patriarchism are deplorable and very 
immoral. The patriarch abuses his power — gives his old wives 
to his childi'en and takes the young ones, for example. The 
purest and most \drtuous Japanese girl is obliged to go to a 
brothel if her father orders it. The patriarch has the power of 
life and death over both sexes, and from tliis is derived the cult 
of ancestors. At the present day we see immorality of this kind 
in the Russian patriarchism among the peasants; the fathers 
have the custom of misusing their sons' wives. Patriarchism 
thus degenerates into atrocious t3Tanny on the part of the chief 
Df the family, who becomes looked upon as a god. 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 161 

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

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

SEXUAL SELECTION 

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

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

It is especially among savages that the woman prefers the 
man who is strongest, most skillful, most ardent, and most auda- 
cious. Heroes always haunt the minds of women, who love to 
throw themselves at the head of conquerors. The ideal of cer- 
tain women in Borneo is a husband who has killed many enemies 
and possesses their heads (head-hunters of Borneo). This 



162 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

psychological trait responds to natural selection, for the women 
obtain by this custom better protectors and stronger children. 

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

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

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

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

The association of love with beauty is not based on aesthetic 
sentiments, for the latter are disinterested, while the original 
instinct of love is interested. The association of the two things 
depends on the instinctive necessity of health, combined with 
the sexual appetite, although custom has produced numerous 
aberrations. Everything which differs markedly from the type 



ETHNOLOGY XNB HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 163 

of the race is more or less pathological. This is why instinct, 
determined by natural selection, repels it. 

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

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

LAWS OF RESEMBLANCE — HYBRIDS 

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

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

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

Broca maintained that human hybrids produced by the cross- 
ing of remote races, for example, between English and negroes 
or Australians, were usually sterile, Westermark disputes 



164 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

this, but agrees that these hybrids become enfeebled in a few 
generations. It has also been established that mixed marriage 
between Jews and Aryans are generally less fecund; but this 
fact is not yet sufficiently explamed. Mulattoes, or hybrids 
between negroes and whites, constitute a degenerate race and 
hardly viable, at any rate if then- descendants do not return 
entirely to one of the original races. Half-breeds between whites 
and American Indians, also called Ladinos, seem on the contrary 
to form a viable race, but one of little valor. 

PROHIBITION OF CONSANGUINEOUS MARRIAGES 

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

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

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

We thus see that the great majority of savages extend their 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 165 

idea of incest much further than we do. The reason of this has 
been much discussed. It was formerly said that consanguineous 
marriage w^as contrary to the commandments of God; that it 
offended the natural sentiment of modesty; that it obscures 
relationship, etc. Nowadays, it is said to be injurious to pos- 
terity. Ethnography teaches us, however, that these state- 
ments are of little value. 

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

The causes of exogamy are explained in the same way, by the 
fact that members of the same clan often live together in close 
intimacy. It is the small clans, formed of thirty or fifty indi- 
viduals of a few families living together, which have the most 
severe laws against incest or endogamy. Where the families 
live in separate homes, such prohibitions do not exist. The 
Maoris, who are endogamous, inhabit villages which are widely 
separated, and marriage between relations is allowed. En- 
dogamy generally exists where the clan life is Httle developed, 
and where relatives know and see little of each other. The 
aversion to marriage between persons living together has thus 
created prohibition of marriage between relations as well as 



166 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

that of marriage between members of the same clan. It is the 
same reason which has led to the prohibition of marriage between 
brothers- and sisters-in-law, between brothers and adopted 
sisters, etc. In people living in small communities, endogamy- 
does not appear to have ever existed. 

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

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

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



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LH^E 167 

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

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

Influenced, no doubt, by general opinion, Westermark tries 
to believe in some instinctive repulsion of man for consan- 
guineous unions. If in modern society such unions, perpetuated 
between parents and children, brothers and sisters, were still 
produced as in animals I should agree that they might be inju- 
rious to the species; but, considering how cosmopolitan and 
mixed is our modern society, I cannot make the concession. 
On the contrary, I maintain that the isolated unions which still 
take place between relatives in civilized countries are so excep- 
tional that they do not present the least danger, excepting among 
the families of degenerates. It is therefore only a question of 
superstition. What we have to guard against are unions be- 
tween pathological individuals and blastophthoric influences. 
We must not forget that many degenerates and idiots have a 



168 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

great pathological tendency to incest, and this is no doubt why 
the effect has been confounded with the cause. 

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

SENTIMENT AND CALCULATION IN SEXUAL SELECTION 

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

In the lower stages of human development, tenderness to- 
ward children is much stronger than sexual love. Among many 
savage races the love of a man for his viiie is completely wanting, 
as well as that of the wife for her husband. In this case mar- 
riage depends on reciprocal convenience, on the desire to have 
children, and profits by personal comfort and the satisfaction 
of a purely animal sexual appetite. However, among these peo- 
ple the parents have a tender regard for their children. The 
husband has the right to beat his wife, but the wife is considered 
as unnatural or even criminal if she beats her children. Among 
the North American Indians, for example, conjugal love is, so to 
speak, unknown. On the other hand, in other savage races. 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 169 

such as the Touaregs, the Niam-Niams, the New Caledonians, 
the Tonganese and Austrahans, the conjoints have a deep affec- 
tion for each other, and the husband often commits suicide on 
the death of his wife. On the whole, the sentiments of affection 
of the conjoints are the result of a long sexual life in common, 
and they are especially strengthened by the love of the parents 
for their children. 

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

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

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

Endogamy and exogamy do not form such an absolute con- 
trast as at first sight might appear. Even among exogamous 
races, there is a limit which must not be passed. These races 
often prohibit marriage with individuals of another race. Among 
the Arabs, for example, the instinct of ethnical separation is so 
strong, that the same Bedouin wife who wall prostitute herself 
for money with Turks or Europeans, would think it dishonorable 



170 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

to marry one of them. In this way custom produces endogamy 
of caste and class among the same people. The same with the 
nobility; in ancient Rome it was forbidden for a patrician to 
marry a plebeian. Sometimes an endogamy of religious origin 
is met with, among the Jews for example. 

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

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

MARRIAGE BY RAPE AND MARRIAGE BY PURCHASE 

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

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



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 171 

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

i ruled among civilized peoples. We still possess the rudiments. 
Marriage by rape or by purchase has, however, never been 
in general usage. Certain races in India and Africa considered 
it a disgrace to pay a price for a wife. 

From the historical point of view it is interesting to note that, 
in the ceremonies of mMiiage by purchase, a simulated and 
symbolical rape of the betrothed still recalls the old form of 

I marriage by rape; also, in races where a higher form has replaced 
marriage by purchase, traces of the latter are still preserved in 
certain nuptial symbols. 

j DECADENCE OF MARRIAGE BY PURCHASE — THE DOT 

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

afterward the opposite custom was introduced of the bride 

bringing her dot to the bridegroom. 
[ A singular transition between these two systems is constituted 
; by simulated purchase, in which the bridegroom offers presents 
: to the bride's parents, which are afterward returned to him. 



172 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Among certain savages the bride's parents return the purchase 
money of their daughter to the bridegroom in another form. ^ 
Such restitution was often the origin of the dot. 

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

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

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

I 

NUPTIAL CUSTOMS AND CEREMONIES 

In primitive races where the vnie is simply bought like mer- 
chandise, often after mutual agi*eement, nuptial ceremonies do ' 
not exist. They generally originate later from the sjmibols of 
a form of marriage since abandoned. The ceremony being con- 
cluded and the marriage recognized as legal, it is followed by 
feasting. Certain religious ceremonies are generally combined 
with marriage. The customs of our modern marriages arise 
from the same source. At the time of early Cliristianity there 
were no religious ceremonies and even up till the year 1563, the 
date of the end of the Council of Trent, religious benediction of 
marriage was not obligatorJ^ Luther held that marriage should 



t 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 173 

DG purely civil^ but legal civil marriage was only introduced among 
IS by the French Revolution, while it had existed in remote times 
imong the Peruvians, Nicaraguans and others. Among certain 
:-aces, marriages concluded without dot, without ceremony, or 
ivithout purchase, and even those between different castes, are 
Dften regarded as concubinage. 



FORMS OF MARRIAGE 

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

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

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

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

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

(5). Promiscuity, or free sexual intercourse between males 
iand females. This occurs in many animals, especially in the 
lower animals in which the sexual instinct of the male is not 
associated with any regard for the female or the progeny. 
Promiscuity is still more natural when the female does not look 
1 after her young after she has laid her eggs. Nevertheless, in 
most animals the female limits herself to sexual intercourse 
before each brood, so that real promiscuity is not so frequent as 



174 THE SEXUAL QUESTION . 

would at first appear. In man, on the contrary, it attains its'^ 
apogee in prostitution, which is the only absolutely complete 
form of promiscuity. But the result of prostitution as regards' 
the preservation of the species, which is the proper object of all 
sexual union, is absolutely destructive. 

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

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

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

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

Among savage races we find monogamy in the natives of the 
Andaman islands, among the Touaregs, the Weddas, the Iro- 
quois, the Wyandottes, and even in some Australian tribes. 
With others, polygamy is only permitted to the chiefs. But 
most of the population are monogamous even among polyga- 
mous races, and there are very few peoples in wiiich all the men 
possess several wives. In India, 95 per cent, of the Islamites 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 175 

are monogamous, and in Persia even 98 per cent. Polygamy is 
nearly everywhere a privilege of princes, chiefs, and rich men. 

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

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

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

' The Cingalese were polyandrous before the EngHsh conquest, 
and so many as seven men had one wife in common. Polyandry 
is especially the custom in Thibet. Among polyandrous peo- 
,' pies the husbands are not all on the same footing of equality, 
j some hold an inferior position, corresponding nearly to that of 
1 concubines, another sign of the tendency to monogamy. 
i Among the Togas marriage in groups is constituted as fol- 
lows: All the brothers are husbands of the wife of the elder 
brother, and all the sisters of this wife are at the same time 
\ wives of their brothers-in-law. If we except prostitution, this 
; is the only case in man which approaches promiscuity. Mar- 
; riage in groups, however, is extremely restricted promiscuity. 
To resume, monogamy is by far the most widespread form of 
marriage. This is explained by. the relative number of men to 
! women. It has often been stated that the number of individuals 
' of the two sexes is nearly the same, and this has been used as an 
. argument in favor of monogamy. But this statement is incor- 
f rect; sometimes it is the men, but more often the women, who 
■predominate. Among the natives of Oregon there are seven 
: hundred men to eleven hundred and eighty-five women. Among 
f the Punkas and other races the number of women is two or three 



176 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

times greater than that of the men. In Kotcha-Hamba there is I" 
only one man to five women. Among other races there are, on 
the contrary, more men than women, especially in Australia, 
Tasmania, and Hayti. In the latter island there is only one 
woman to five men. In Cashmere there are three men to one 
woman. Among the negroes, on the contrary, the women pre- ' 
dominate, sometimes in the proportion of three to one, but more 
generally as three to two. 

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

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

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

It has also been suggested that selection produces the sex 
which is deficient in numbers; but here again proofs are want- 
ing. It has been maintained that crossing tends to breed 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 177 

females, while consanguineous marriages produce males; in 
: other words, that mongrel races show an excess of female births, 
[while races in which marriages are very consanguineous, and 
polyandrous tribes show an excess of males. It is much better 
;to leave this question alone till science has furnished us with 
[Conclusive proofs. Certain results obtained with the lower ani- 
mals give hope that the future may shed some light on this 
I point. 

; Again, marriage customs are not always in relation to the 
i excess of one of the sexes. Races in which men predominate 
are not always polyandrous, and those in which women are in 
excess are not always polygamous; sometimes even the con- 
trary exists. Polygamy is thus not always due to a surplus of 
female births, or to the death of many men, but often to religious 
'prescripts, as among the Islamites and Mormons. In polyandry, 
poverty often plays a greater part than consanguineous mar- 
riages or surplus of male births. Religious prescription of the 
.husband's continence during his wife's menstrual periods, preg- 
;nancy, and even the period of nursing, a period which often 
lasts from two to four years in savages, is an important cause of 
polyandry. At Sierra Leone, coitus of the husband with his 
[Wife before the last-born child can walk is regarded as a crime. 
Although very advantageous to the wife's health this custom 
is entirely based on religious ideas and superstitions. Many 
savages consider that every woman is impure and bewitched 
I during her monthly periods, during pregnancy and suckling. 
jif we add to this the fact that, being usually treated as beasts, 
I the women soon gi'ow old, we can easily understand that the 
;men are inclined to polygamy. It is remarkable with what 
; rapidity the savage woman grows old. She is only fresh from 
'thirteen to twenty years; after twenty-five she is old and sterile, 
and a little later she has the aspect of an old sorceress. This 
i premature senility is not so much due to early sexual intercourse 
' as to the terribly hard work they undergo, and also to the pro- 
longed period of suckling. 

i Another cause of polygamy is man's natural desire for change. 
J The negroes of Angola exchange wives. The instinct of pro- 
j creation, love of glory and riches cooperate with the sterility 



178 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of many women in propagating polygamy. Certain races only 
tolerate it when the woman is sterile, or has only daughters, 
which clearly proves that it is based on the fear of remaining 
without male descendants. 

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

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



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 179 

vent the jealousy of his wives the polygamous man often places 
them in separate houses; this is common among the South 
American Indians. 

In Colombia I made the acquaintance of a French explorer, 
Le Comte de Brettes, who has studied closely the Goajires In- 
dians by becoming himself a member of the tribe. The country 
of the Goajires is a peninsula of Colombia bordering on Vene- 
zuela. Polygamy among these people is very interesting. 
When a young Goajire wishes to marry he has to pay the bride's 
parents a number of cattle, but the consent of the bride is nec- 
essary. Besides this the husband has to clear a certain area 
of forest, plant vegetables and build a hut. He must then 
make a present of all this to his wife and add to it the necessary 
cattle. The wife thus becomes the legal proprietor of the house 
and land, and it is she who rules over the domain. The hus- 
band only has authority over the male children; but the wife is 
strictly enforced to be faithful. If he wishes to marry a second 
wife, he is obliged to buy her also and present her with similar 
property as the first, in another district. The two wives can 
never dwell together in the same house nor in the same district ; 
each of them is thus a proprietor on her own account. In this 
manner the different wives of a Goajire are not only independ- 
ent, but separated from each other and have no communication; 
this excludes all jealousy, especially as these women have a deep 
respect for the laws of their country. Under such conditions 
polygamy can hardly extend to more than two women without 
, exhausting the forces a man requires to cultivate each of the 
[domains. We thus see that certain forms of polygamy, com- 
bined with matriarchism, are compatible with high social position 
iOf the wife, for among the Goajires and other Indian tribes the 
man passes from one wife to the other, while it is the wife who 
-is mistress of the house, the children and the domain. 
I However, we may say that on the whole monogamy reigns 
where there is more altruism, respect for women and sentiment 
[for family life; for instance, in Nicaragua, among the Dyaks, 
'the Andamanese, etc., in whom the wife is highly esteemed and 
I possesses political influence. The wife is also proprietor of the 
1 house among the Santalese and Mounda-Kols. 



180 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

To resume, we first of all observe an evolution from mo- 
nogamy toward polygamy. The higher apes and the most 
primitive men are monogamous; among these there are no 
differences of rank, nor class distinctions, and they live in very 
small groups. Wealth, civilization, larger communities, agri- 
culture and the domination of castes have gradually given rise 
to polygamy. Thus, the ancient Hindus were at first mo- 
nogamous and later on became polygamous. The prerogative 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 181 

of the first wife over the others is only a vestige of monogamy 
in polygamy. 

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

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

Spencer believes that monogamy will prevail in the future, 

while Lubbock inclines to polygamy. Westermark thinks that 

if the progress of civilization continues as hitherto to become 

more altruistic, and that if love tends to become more refined, 

the conjoints having more and more regard for each other, 

monogamy will always become more strict. 

! For my part, I think it idle to prophesy. If mental culture 

! ever succeeds in overcoming brutality and barbarism, and if it 

' continues to make real progress, I do not think that any of the 

' old systems of marriage will persist in their primary form. 

Primitive monogamy adapted to an unsocial savage condition, 

' is incompatible with the social requirements which become 

more and more imposed upon humanity. Marriage by pur- 

: chase and Islamite polygamy, which regard woman as mer- 

1 chandise and place her entirely under the dependence of man, 

I are barbarous customs of semi-civilized people, which have 

; already fallen into disuse. Polyandry is contrary to human 

i nature and to the requirements of reproduction, and its implanta- 



182 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

tion is everywhere a sign of decadence. Our present religious 
monogamy, completed by the shameful promiscuity of prosti- 
tution, is both hypocritical and unhealthy. Till the contrary 
is proved, I consider the most advantageous form of marriage 
for the future a kind of free monogamy (eventually polygamy), 
accompanied by obligations relative to the procreation of chil- 
dren and to the children procreated. Polyandry should only 
have an accessory right to existence in certain pathological or 
exceptional cases. We shall return to this point later. 

DURATION OF MARRIAGE 

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

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

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

In Persia a woman may marry for periods varying from one 
hour to ninety-nine years. In Egypt similar customs are met 
with; a monthly change is allowed, so that a man may marry 
twenty or thirty times in two years. Among the Maues of 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 183 

Sahara the women consider it fashionable to marry as often as 
possible, and a long married life is considered by them as vulgar. 
The Abyssinians, negroes, etc., marry on trial or for limited 
periods. Among the Greeks, Romans and ancient Germans, 
divorce was very frequent. 

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

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

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

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

Children constitute the surest cement against conjugal sepa- 
rations. With most savages the rejected wife regains not only 
her dot, but also part of the common property, or even the 
whole of it. On the contrary, the purchase value of the wife is 
only as a rule returned to the husband when sterility, adultery 
or other grave reasons are the causes of divorce. It results from 



184 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

this that divorce is always very rare among peoples where the 
women are very dear. 

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

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

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

HISTORY OF EXTRA-CONJUGAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE 

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



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 185 

most primitive human conventional organizations. In this way 
we can imagine the main points of the prehistoric evolution of 
marriage. 

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

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

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

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

Prostitution is a trade in which a human being sells her body 
for money, while concubinage consists in more or less free sexual 
intercourse apart from marriage, the motive of which is simply 



186 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

the sexual appetite, convenience or love, although sometimes 
violence plays a part in it. We therefore find in extra-marital 
sexual intercourse the same motives as in legal unions; legal or 
religious sanction only is wanting. 

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

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

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

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

Concubinage may be more or less free. The concubines were 
formerly often slaves, possessed by men in high positions, in 
addition to their wives. At the present day the omnipotence 
of money produces almost analogous results. Free concubinage, 
in which sexual intercourse between the two contracting parties 
is absolutely free and more or less independent of pecuniary 
questions, is very different and of a higher moral character. It 
has also existed in antiquity in various forms. The Greek 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 187 

hetairas were concubines of high position, no doubt prostitutes 
of a kind and giving themselves for money; but they became 
the friends or companions of great men. Living in luxury, 
especially at the time of Pericles and later, several of them be- 
came celebrated; statues were raised to them and they became 
the concubines of kings. Phryne served as the model for the 
statue of Venus, and offered to restore the halls of the Thebeans 
at her own expense. Thais was the mistress of Alexander and 
gave heirs to the throne. The neglected education of the Greek 
wives caused the intellectual accomplishments of the hetairas 
to shine by contrast. 

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

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

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

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

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



188 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

and they regarded this form of love as superior to the normal 
love of woman. Lesbian love, and other sexual aberrations, such 
as sadism, have also played a historical role, as we shall see. 



CONCLUSIONS 

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

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

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

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

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



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 189 

APPENDIX 

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

A good deal has been said concerning the hot blood of warm 
I climates, and on the whole it appears true that people who 
; inhabit these climates have a more violent and more precocious 
1 sexual temperament than those who live in cold regions. But 
jithis is not a racial character. The Jews, who have preserved 
;i their race unaltered in all climates and under all possible con- 
ditions of existence, furnish an object lesson which is particu- 
larly appropriate to decide the question. The traits of their 
i character are reflected in their sexual life. Their sexual appe- 
I tites are generally strong and their love is distinguished by 
: great family attachment. Their sexual life is also influenced 
, by their mercantile spirit, and we find them everywhere con- 
nected with the traffic of women and prostitution. They are 
j not very jealous and are much addicted to concubinage, at the 
I same time remaining affectionate to their wife and family. 
j The Mongols also lead a very intense sexual life. Among the 
' polyandrous people of Thibet jealousy appears to be completely 
absent : this may be the result of custom or may be due to phy- 
1 logenetic instinct. The Mormons, who are descended from 
' monogamous races, confirm the idea that polygamy is not a 
; specific racial character. It would be interesting to study the 
j mixed races of North America from this point of view. At first 
' sight, it seems that the Americanization of customs in the mix- 
: ture of races of the United States is also extended to sexual 
; life, and that we cannot discover the fundamental differences 



190 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

between the Irish, Scandinavians, French, Germans and Italians 
who constitute this mixture. But it is possible that this is only 
a superficial impression, and that a deeper study of the details 
would lead to another result. One thing appears to be unques- 
tionable in the negro race; that is the violence of its sexual 
passion combined with its mental inferiority. 

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

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

These figures show that the difference between the two sexes 
is always about the same, while the average absolute weight of 
the brain in the two sexes is lower in the lower races. Reckon- 
ing it 87 per cent, of the cranial capacity, it is in the Weddas 
1111 grammes for males and 991 grammes for females, which 



ETHNOLOGY AND HISTORY OF SEXUAL LIFE 191 

corresponds to the weight of the brains of idiots or general para- 
lytics with us, Martin assures me that in the Malay peninsula 
he has found as much difference between the men and women 
as in Europeans. 

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

MEN. WOMEN. 

Aristencephalous (large brains) over 1450 gr over 1300 gr. 

Euencephalous (medium brains) 1300 to 1450. 1150 to 1300. 

Oligencephalous (small brains) under 1300 under 1150. 



AVERAGE CRANIAL CAPACITY IN DIFFERENT RACES 



1 Civilized 



Semi- 



Men Women Diffeeence 

183 



Badois I 48 Craniums m. ^ ^^^3 ^33^ 

Bavarian | JJ^ '.'< ™- [ 1503 1335 168 (11.2 %) 

Malay ] ^2 '' 7 [ ^'^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ 



Civilized ] j^^^ ^ 87 ;; m. | ^^^^ ^3^^ ^^^ 



64 



Wedd^af' ] ?0 " '' T \ 1277 1139 138 (10.8 %) 



CHAPTER VII 

SEXUAL EVOLUTION 

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

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

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

PHYLOGENY OF SEXUAL LIFE 

In Chapter II we have briefly described phylogeny in general 
or metamorphosis, and in the first part of Chapter IV we have 
specially considered the phylogeny of the sexual appetite in the 
phenomenon of cell division and conjugation of nuclei in unicel- 
lular organisms, which we have described in Chapter I. In 
order for animals to reproduce themselves without degenerating, 
crossing, or the combination of different germs, is necessary, 
and such combinations are only possible by the mutual attrac- 

192 






SEXUAL EVOLUTION 193 

tion of two kinds of germinal cells. But, when the individual 
becomes multicellular and bears only one kind of germinal cells, 
the attractive energy which was originally limited to these 
cells is transmitted to the whole organism, and this necessitates 
the existence of sensory and motor nerve centers. 

The attraction of one kind of germinal cell and its bearer for 
the other must also be more or less mutual. As a rule the bearer 
of one of the germinal cells becomes active and penetrating; 
that of the other passive and receptive. However, the latter, 
who after copulation (when this occurs) becomes the sole bearer 
of the future individual, is obliged to desire union with the 
1 active bearer of the other germinal cell, so that reproduction 
may become harmonious. This is the basis on which is founded 
I sexual reproduction, and with it the sexual appetite, in plants 
(as regards cellular conjugation only) as well as in animals, but 
; especially in the latter, in whom the germinal cells are carried 
il by mobile and independent individuals. On the same basis is 
developed the difference between the sexual appetite in man 
and woman, as well as that between love and the other irradia- 
tions of this appetite in the mental life of both sexes. (Vide 
Chapters IV and V.) 
1 The immense complication of human sexual life makes us 
I regard animals with a certain degree of contempt, and flatter our 
- vanity in qualifying the baser part of our sexual appetite by the 
term animal instinct. But we are really very unjust toward 
animals. This injustice is partly due to the fact that vocal and 
written language gives us a means of penetrating into the psy- 
chology of our fellow creatures. By the aid of the common 
symbolism of our thoughts it is easy for us to compare them. 
Language thus enables us to construct a general human psy- 
chology. The absence of language, even in the higher animals, 
renders it difficult for us to penetrate their mind. Our inductive 
reasoning in this matter is very uncertain, for we can only judge 
the mental power of animals by their acts. The brain, and con- 
sequently the mind, of the higher mammals being less highly 
organized than that of man, their sexual psychology is also 
more primitive, and differs from ours in proportion to the cerebral 
development of the species. Comparative anatomy confirms 



194 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

this fact in the whole series of organisms which possess a central 
nervous system. The psychology of the higher apes is thus 
nearer our own than that of the dog; the psychology of the dog 
resembles om's more than that of the rabbit, etc. 

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

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

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

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

The fecundated females, on their part, become breeding ma- 
chines, whose activity is incessant. Among the ants, however, 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 195 

the females are at first capable of nourishing a few larvae by 
the aid of a portion of their eggs and their secretions, till the 
workers are hatched, who henceforth undertake all the work 
including the maternal care of the brood. 

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

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

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



196 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

higher social morality. All that we can say in a general way 
concerning the complex entanglement of our sentiments and 
instincts is that, the most deeply rooted characters in human 
nature are at the same time, phylogenetically speaking, the most 
ancient. 

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

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

Between these two extremes there is, however, one important 
domain, viz., that of recent phylogeny, or in other words varia- 
tion. The fixed appetites and instincts of the species which are 
proper to every normal man, and are as we have seen fundamen- 
tally connected Avith many animal forms, belong to ancient and 
profound phylogeny. But there is another group of very vari- 
able peculiarities, strongly developed in some men and little in 
others, sometimes completely absent, which do not depend on 
custom but on what is called individual hereditary disposition, 
or individual character. WTiile some men have monogamous 
instincts others are polygamous. Some men are by instinct 
and heredity very egoistic, others more altruistic. This pecu- 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 197 

liarity is reflected in their sexual life and changes the character 
of their love (but not that of their sexual instinct). The egoist 
may love his wife, but this love is interested and very different 
from that of the altruist. Between the two extremes there is 
an infinite number of gradations according to the nature of the 
instincts and dispositions. The same man may be a good and 
generous father, and a social exploiter with neither shame nor 
pity. Another will pose as a social benefactor, while at home 
he is an egoist and a tyi-ant. The individual dispositions of 
recent phylogeny are combined in every way with education, 
customs, habit and social position to produce results which are 
often paradoxical, and the factors of which are ambition, vanity, 
temper, etc. Recent phylogeny is reflected also in many of the 
irradiations of the sexual appetite of which we have spoken in 
Chapter V. Audacity, jealousy, sexual braggardism, hypocrisy, 
prudery, pornography, coquetry, exaltation, etc., depend in 
each particular case, according to their degree of development, 
on a combination of individual sexual hereditary dispositions 
with individual dispositions in the other domains of sentiment, 
intelligence and will. In this way, the sexual individuality of 
one man is constituted in a veiy complex and very different way 
to that of other men, owing to the high development of the 
human brain, as well as to the infinite variability and adapt- 
ability of his aptitudes. It is impossible to give even an incom- 
plete explanation of all the symphonic gradations (often caco- 
phonic) which represent an individuality, or to fix clearly what 
distinguishes it from others. However, when the principle is 
understood, it is not difficult to estimate the sexual individuality 
of each person more or less correctly. 

Strong hereditary dispositions of character may be recognized 
in early infancy. When the ancestry of a man is well known 
the roots of his recent phylogeny may be traced to his ancestors. 
Here we observe the effect of crossing between varieties or differ- 
ent races, or on the contrary that of consanguinity. This effect 
is observed in character and in sexual disposition, as much as 
in the shape of the nose, or the color of the skin and hair, etc. 
It is important that men should learn to know themselves, and 
also study each other from this point of view before marrying. 



198 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

On the whole, we may say that the average civilized man of 
our race possesses as his " phylogenetic baggage" a strong 
sexual appetite, very variable sentiments of love, generally 
somewhat mediocre, (we have seen that conjugal love is more 
strongly developed in most monkeys than in man), lastly 
altruistic or social sentiments which are still deplorably weak. 
The latter, no doubt, form no part of the sexual life, but they 
must be taken into consideration for they are its most important 
derivatives, and it is indispensable for our modern social life to 
develop them in harmony with family and conjugal love. 

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

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



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 199 

after a certain time. We are speaking only of man, and not of 
birds and monkeys, who are more monogamous than ourselves. 

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

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

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

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

Civilization has changed all this, and has developed two castes 
of women, the old maids and the prostitutes. The latter satisfy 
the appetites of men in an artificial and unhealthy manner, 
while marriage and family cares only bring them labor and 
burdens instead of riches. Owing to the promiscuous polj^andry 
of prostitution, man can always obtain enough women, while 
woman can with difficulty obtain a suitable husband. These 



200 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

circumstances have more and more developed the art of flirta- 
tion, coquetry and advances on the part of girls, and we can 
now see, especially in the United States, that advances come 
more and more from the female side, if not in principle, at any 
rate in fact. This is not a question of a phylogenetic or heredi- 
tary transformation of the sexes among civilized peoples, but 
an unhealthy effect resulting from abnormal circumstances, that 
is the non-satisfaction of the sexual desires of woman, together 
with the satiety of those of men. Woman makes advances 
from the fear of remaining celibate; she will icease to do so 
when the unnatural causes which have produced this state of 
things have been done away with. 

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

ONTOGENY OF SEXUAL LIFE 

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



I 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 201 

adult, even when the corresponding organs are well-developed. 
(Vide Chapter VIII.) Such irregularities of the sexual appetite 
belong to the domain of pathology. 

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

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

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

More singular still are cases of coitus between little boys 
and girls whose sexual glands are still undeveloped and pro- 
duce no germinal cells. Although they are pathological, these 



202 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

phenomena are characteristic, because they clearly show that 
the brain has acquired by phylogeny a sexual appetite relatively 
independent of the development of the sexual glands. No 
doubt the sexual appetite does not develop, or disappears, in 
eunuchs when they are castrated quite young; but it is pre- 
served together with the secretions and functions of the 
external genitals when castration is performed after puberty 
is established. 

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

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

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

In youth, the intoxication of love combined with intense 
sexual appetite triumphs; when the appetite is once satisfied 
the unbridled and egoistic passions of this age come to the sur- 
face and are often antagonistic to love. At a more advanced 
age, on the contrary, love becomes more constant and more 
tranquil. The mistake that is so often made is the confusion 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 203 

of love with sexual appetite. The novelists who speculate on 
the eroticism of the public are no doubt more interested in de- 
scribing sexual passion and amorous intoxication, with all the 
catastrophes and conflicts which arise from them, than the tran- 
quil and regular love of a couple more advanced in age, the 
greatest happiness of which consists in harmony of sentiment 
and thought, as well as the mutual regard and devotion of the 
couple for each other. 

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

According to Westermark elderly men generally fall more 
easily in love with middle-aged women than with young girls. 
No doubt this is often the case when reason and love predomi- 
nate, but it is necessary to avoid generalization, and it is curious 
to obsei've how often very old men become enamored of quite 
young girls, as the latter may fall in love with old men. It is 
common knowledge that young girls do not marry old gray- 
beards solely for their money or their name. No doubt this is 
not uncommon, but I have often seen girls of eighteen or twenty 
fall in love with old roues, when money, name and position 
were theirs and not the man's. However, in such cases it is 
most often the old man who is amorous. Westermark main- 



204 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

tains that this condition is not normal, and we shall see that 
very often it is a case of commencing senile demerit ia, a patho- 
logical cerebral condition in which the sexual appetite becomes 
suddenly revived. 

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

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

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

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

The sexual appetite of woman manifests itself at first in vague 
desires, in a want of love, and does not as a rule develop locally 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 205 

till after coitus. It often follows that in ontogenetic evolution 
the sexual appetite of women increases at a more advanced age 
(between thirty and forty). At this age women often become 
enamored with young boys, whom they seduce easily. Widows 
are especially disposed to form unions with men younger than 
themselves; these unions are rarely happy, for the woman who 
is older than her husband easily becomes jealous, and the hus- 
band soon becomes tired of a woman whose charms have faded. 
We can therefore afRi'm that, as a rule, in order to be both nor- 
mal and lasting, a monogamous union requires that the husband 
should be from six to twelve years older than his wife, and that 
the latter should marry as young as possible. 

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

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

Old women are often spoken of with contempt. No doubt, 
unsatisfied passions and wounded feelings of all kinds, want of 
intellectual culture and high ideals, and especially a pathological 
condition of the brain, make many old women anything but 
amiable. I am, however, convinced that the elevation of 
woman's social position, and greater care in her education, will 
considerably facilitate the development of her faculties. Edu- 
cation should not develop mundane qualities in women, but 
depth of sentiment. There are many aged women who can be 
cited as examples of activity and perseverance, for their sound 
and clear judgment, as well as for their affability and simplicity 
of manners. Although their intellectual productiveness ceases 



206 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

earlier than that of man, this in no way excludes an excellent 
and persevering activity of mind, combined with much judg- 
ment and sentimental qualities. A woman who is growing old 
and has lost the members of her family, especially her husband, 
requires some object to replace them in her affection. To de- 
vote herself to social activity will be the best antidote against 
the peevish, querulous or sorrowful moods which so easily take 
possession of the aged woman. It appears that love, which is a 
phylogenetic derivative of the sexual appetite, and which in 
middle life is intimately associated with this appetite, becomes 
afterwards more and more independent of it and then requires 
more compensation. There is here a great adaptation of love 
to life, an adaptation which it is necessary to bear in mind. 

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

The last is still very weak in man, while some animal species, 
such as the bees and ants, have developed it in a more complete 
manner, on the basis of instinct. According to this natural 
law, all social organization naturally develops altruism or the 
sentiment of duty. The history of humanity proves that our 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 207 

social union is only developed slowly and laboriously through 
innumerable contests, and that it is derived, directly or indi- 
rectly, from the family union of individuals. Extension of 
communication on the surface of the earth causes the artificial 
development of social organization to advance much more 
rapidly than the natural phylogenetic development by evolu- 
tion of the sentiments or social instincts. The latter are, how- 
ever, forced to follow the movement, resting first on the deep 
roots of family and friendly altruism, as well as on that of caste 
or clan (patriotism); i.e., on sentiments of sympathy and duty 
toward certain individuals who are more closely connected with 
us, sentiments which are hereditary in man, A vague general 
humanitarian sentiment, a hothouse flower which is still feeble, 
has already commenced to grow on this natural basis. Let us 
hope that it will live. 

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



CHAPTER VIII 

SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 

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

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

* English translation by F. J. Rebman: JRebman Co., New York. 

208 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 209 

tions, is of the same opinion as the ignorant doctor mentioned 
above. For this reason I think it necessary at least to give an 
outUne of phenomena which, although very repulsive in them- 
selves, throw much light on the sexual question. 

j PATHOLOGY OF THE SEXUAL ORGANS 

! Every deformity, disease or operation which destroys the 

I sexual glands in the child, or prevents them from developing, 

! gives rise to the phenomena which we have described when 

i speaking of castration. This is the case, for instance, with 

cryptorchidism in which the testicles remain in the inguinal 

canal and become atrophied, instead of descending into the 

I scrotum. The following case is an example, and is interesting 

in other respects: 

I A young man was affected with imbecility and congenital 
i cryptorchidism with atrophy of the testicles. A eunuch from 
' birth, he developed no sexual appetite and no correlative mascu- 
line character. To make a man of him, his too eager aunts 
[married him to a strong girl, who was anything but innocent. 
She attempted by all kinds of manipulations to cure the sexual 
blindness of her husband; but this was a waste of labor, as the 
1 unhappy wretch only regarded the performance as disgusting and 
filthy. He was violently excited and became somnambulistic. 
; Soon afterwards the wife consoled herself with a lover of normal 
' sexual power, and they both overwhelmed the poor eunuch with 
: raillery. The latter, becoming furious, offered his wife a cake 
poisoned with arsenic on her birthday, but she saw through the 
stratagem. The poor wretch was sent for trial and condemned 
I to a long term of imprisonment for attempted poisoning. I con- 
! sider this judgment as a legal crime. In spite of my protests, 
! imbecility was not admitted, and the somnambulism was looked 
i upon as simulated. 

; On the other hand, the same lesions when they occur in the 
I adult neither destroy the correlative sexual characters, nor the 
' power of coitus, nor the voluptuous sensation of the orgasm. 
' In man, aspermia sometimes occurs; the testicles appear to 
i be well formed, but the semen contains no spermatozoa. In 
[spite of this the aspermatic individual generally has erections, 
I a certain amount of sexual power and orgasm, and is capable of 



210 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

amorous feelings, although his sexual functions are generally 
feeble. But he is incapable of fecundating a woman. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 211 

the female sexual organs have a more general pathological 
character and hardly influence sexual intercourse. 

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

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

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

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

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

VENEREAL DISEASES* 

We cannot give here a complete description of the venereal 
diseases, which constitute a terrible evil for humanity, by bring- 

* For further information on this subject see Marshall's " Syphilology and 
Venereal Disease," (London, Balliere, Tindall & Co.); also Marshall's transla- 
tion of Fournier's "Treatment and Prophylaxis of Syphilis," (New York: 
Rebman Co.) 



212 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

ing a great deal of misfortunes and decadence into family and 
social life. Let us first point out the common error which 
attributes to sexual excess the evil effects which are really due 
to venereal disease. Although it may be uncommon, one may 
be infected by these diseases after an innocent kiss, a cut finger, 
by sitting on a pri\'y contaminated by a person suffering from 
venereal disease, by the use of contaminated linen, etc., etc. A 
pachydermatous Don Juan, on the contrary, may abandon him- 
self to the wildest sexual excess without being infected, if he is 
prudent and has good luck. On the other hand, young men 
may be infected after having been ■v\^th a prostitute only once 
in their lives, and thus ruin their whole existence. 

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

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

In women the results of gonorrhea are, if possible, still worse 
than in men, because it is more difficult to cure. A prostitute 
affected with gonorrhea may infect an enormous number of 
men, and in this case medical inspection of brothels is no guar- 
antee. The gonococci are concealed in all the corners and folds 
of the internal genital organs of woman, where they set up 
inflammation of the womb, the Fallopian tubes and even the 
ovaries, which may lead to adhesions between the abdominal 
organs. Women affected with chronic gonorrhea generally be- 
come sterile. When the womb and the ovaries are affected 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 213 

there is much suffering and the woman may be confined to bed 
for some years. Stricture of the urethra and inflammation of 
the bladder are more rare in women than in men, as the result 
of gonorrhea. 

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

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

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



214 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

The early stages of syphilis may easily pass unnoticed owing 
to their partly latent and completely painless character. Small 
eruptions may be mistaken for other affections, and mercurial 
treatment generally disperses the symptoms of primary and 
secondary syphilis. But syphilitics who are apparently cured 
are never safe from being attacked, after perhaps many years, 
with locomotor ataxy, general paralysis or the tertiary or quat- 
ernary manifestations of S3qDhilis, such as disease of the bones, 
internal organs, eyes, brain, etc. The sores of the first two or 
three years of syphilis are contagious but painless, and hence 
do not prevent coitus when they occur in the genitals. After 
three years syphilis becomes less contagious, but there is no 
definite time limit and cases have been recorded in which con- 
tagious lesions occurred tec or fifteen years after the onset of 
the disease. 

A syphilitic man may transmit the disease to his children 
without infecting his wife, and these children may die before 
birth or may be born with congenital syphilis. Tliis is due to 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 215 

the spermatozoa being infected with syphihs. However, this 
is fortunately not always the case, for many cured syphUitics 
have healthy childi'en. A child affected with congenital syph- 
ilis (from the father) may infect the mother during pregnancy; 
this is called ''syphilis by conception." Congenital syphilis may 
also cause locomotor ataxy and general paralysis. 

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

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

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

The first attack of gonorrhea in man is veiy often spon- 
taneously cured, while unskillful treatment often aggravates it. 
The relapses of this disease, on the other hand, especially in 



216 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

their chronic form, often resist all kinds of treatment and some- 
times become incurable. The gonococci become hidden in the 
folds of the deep parts of the mucous membrane, both in men 
and women, and cannot all be destroyed. With regard to syph- 
ilis, mercurial treatment, although remarkable in its immediate 
effect, requires prolonged administration. And it is by such 
means that it is proposed to make prostitutes clean! There is 
only one radical cure for venereal diseases; that is not to con- 
tract them! However, this does not prevent us from recom- 
mending all those who are affected with them to seek immediate 
treatment by a skilled specialist. 

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

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

SEXUAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY 

With the exception of what is called sexual inversion and 
pathological love of the insane, sexual psychopathology (i.e., 
sexual pathology of mind) is chiefly limited to the domain of the 



I 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 217 

sexual appetite, and originates mainly in fetichism (see Chapter 
V), to which it is closely allied. Let us first examine certain 
anomalies which partly concern the lower nervous functions. 

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

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

If the hereditary disposition is very strong, it is developed 
spontaneously or under the influence of very slight circumstances. 



218 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

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

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

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

REFLEX ANOMALIES 

We have already mentioned vaginismus, which is often pro- 
duced in women by the first coitus. Priapism in man is some- 
what analogous to vaginismus. It is produced by an exaggera- 
ted reflex kritability of the nerve centers for erection, and 
results in continual and painful erections, which sometimes end 
in ejaculation without sensation. Another anomaly, more or 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 219 

less reflex and very frequent, produces voluptuous sensations 
and premature ejaculation after short and incomplete erections. 
In some nervous women also, the venereal orgasm occurs very 
rapidly and briefly. These anomalies belong to the domain of 
medicine and are of little importance for om* subject. 

PSYCHIC IMPOTENCE 

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

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

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

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

Impotence may occur at the first coitus, or may come on 
gi'adually. It is often produced suddenly at the time of mar- 



220 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

riage in persons who have hitherto been very capable, even in 
Don Juans. Men may have normal erections and pollutions, 
but these may be stopped by counter-suggestions at each at- 
tempt at coitus. Habitual masturbation may in some cases 
contribute to produce impotence, but we must not generalize 
from such cases, nor construct a dogma from them, for con- 
tinence may also be a cause of impotence. 

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

I do not know under what heading the following case should 
be placed: 

A young man of steady habits, and normal sexual appetite, 
had always abstained from sexual connection and masturbation. 
He only had emissions during sleep. The latter were accom- 
panied by erotic dreams, but never produced an orgasm, while 
disagreeable sensations occurred on waking. He married for love 
a woman in whom the hymen was resistant, and vaginismus 
occurred on each attempt at coitus. These attempts failed con- 
stantly in spite of the most intense love and the most ardent 
desire for children on both sides. The husband's erections were 
incomplete, and he never had an ejaculation except when asleep. 
By the aid of hypnotism I succeeded in strengthening his erec- 
tions, and an operation on the hymen cured his wife's vaginismus. 
The first attempts at coitus were not immediately successful, but 
suggestion acted after a time; finally the attempts were crowned 
with success, and followed by a first and second pregnancy. The 
children were healthy. 

In this case, the impotence, which had lasted about eighteen 
months, did not affect the mutual love and respect of the couple, 
because the husband's affection combined with his sexual appe- 
tite had sufficed for the happiness of a woman who was on the 
whole normal. 

This case is very instructive in several ways, for it gives a good 
example of the nature of the sexual instinct in woman; it also 
shows how the auto-suggestion of emissions occurring only 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 221 

during sleep may hinder copulation in the waking state. But 
such phenomena are extremely rare. 

It is hardly necessary to say that there is no true impotence 
in woman; but the same mental paralysis may occur as in man, 
preventing orgasm and often causing disgust. 

SEXUAL PARADOXY 

By this term is understood the appearance of the sexual 
appetite, or even of love, at an abnormal age. Infantile para- 
doxy is, however, very different to senile paradoxy. 

Infantile paradoxy must not be confounded with certain forms 
of masturbation, to which we shall return. Some races, es- 
pecially in the tropics, have a much earlier sexual development 
than others; depending more on race than climate. In some, 
sexual maturity occurs in boys between the age of twelve 
and fourteen, and in girls between nine and ten years, while in 
others the former are hardly mature at twenty and the latter 
before seventeen or eighteen. Again, individual variations may 
be very great in the same race. But, owing to hereditary 
satyriasis or nymphomania, we sometimes in our own country 
see sexual appetite appear in children of eight, seven, or even 
three or four years of age, in a spontaneous manner without any 
external excitation. Lombroso mentions the case of a girl three 
years old who had an irresistible tendency to onanism. I have 
myself observed the two following cases: 

(1). A boy of seven years, the son of a brothel keeper, and a 
kind of satyr who committed great excesses, began spontaneously 
to attack little girls of his own age or even younger. He was so 
artful that all means failed in curing him of this habit, and he 
was sent to an asylum of which I was superintendent. He then 
tried to renew his exploits with a boy older than himself. He was 
also idle and disposed to all kinds of folly. He did not, however, 
attempt to copulate with adult women or men. His sexual or- 
gans were absolutely infantile, without any abnormal develop- 
ment. His paradoxy was thus of cerebral origin. 

(2). A girl of nine years began to excite the genital organs of 
all the boys of her own age or younger, that she could lay hold of. 
She did this in such a cunning way that she succeeded in killing 
by inches one of her youngest brothers and severely injured the 



222 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

urethra and bladder of another before she was found out. She 
also copulated with a boy older than herself. 

In this case I was told that there was no hereditary taint, but 
such statements prove nothing. Individuals of this kind gener- 
ally become criminals, or else give themselves up to masturba- 
tion or prostitution. 

Occasionally, the sexual appetite may be preserved for a long 
time in old men, or reappear for a time, with or without sexual 
power, but as a rule, the paradoxy of old men is the initial 
symptom of senile dementia. As this disorder is only com- 
mencing when sexual excitation occurs, it is not noticed, and 
the patient is regarded as an immoral, vicious or criminal indi- 
vidual. I have seen a patient of this kind masturbate openly 
in an asylum, so great was his sexual excitation. 

In most old men affected with senile sexual paradoxy, the 
sexual appetite is directed toward very young girls or even chil- 
dren, wliich aggravates their case from the legal point of view. 
Very often this appetite is perverted and assumes one of the 
forms we shall speak of later. Some of these old men are still 
capable, but others are not, and then their excitation only mani- 
fests itself in manipulations of the genital organs, etc. Such 
cases play a considerable part in law scandals. The patient (for 
so he must be called) often becomes the victim of blackmail on 
the part of vicious girls or children, incited by unnatural parents. 
One often sees also, at the onset of senile dementia, an old man 
become enamored of some prostitute or adventuress who makes ; 
him marry her and thus takes possession of his fortune. The 
law generally makes the matter valid, under the pretext that 
individual liberty must be respected. Such sanction consists in 
reality in sacrificing a patient for the profit of a female swindler. . 

SEXUAL ANESTHESIA OR CONGENITAL ABSENCE OF THE 

SEXUAL SENSE AND APPETITE ' 

Sexual sensations are so intimately connected with the sexual 
appetite that it is difficult to separate them. No doubt in the 
adult a certain degree of sexual appetite may exist without any 
voluptuous sensation, but this is a secondary phenomenon. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 223 

Complete sexual anaesthesia is very rare in man; it is not a 
special form of anomaly, but the reduction to zero of a normal 
sensation and the appetite which corresponds to it. The char- 
acteristic feature of these cases is that, contrary to what occurs 
in eunuchs and cryptorchids, not only the testicles, but all the 
correlative sexual attributes (the beard, voice, character, etc.) 
are normally developed, and are in no way inverted as in homo- 
sexual individuals. Sexual anaesthesia causes no more suffering 
than color-blindness, but like the latter it occasions individual 
troubles resulting from misunderstanding. The sexual anaes- 
thetic, having a more or less false idea of marriage, often marries 
in complete ignorance, and the results are then disastrous, thanks 
to our laws and customs. 

In women, sexual anaesthesia is very common. Krafft-Ebing 
is wrong in maintaining that in all such cases the women are 
always neurotic. A number of absolutely normal and intelligent 
women remain all their life completely cold from the sexual 
point of view, apart from the normally passive character of the 
female sex in coitus. It is rather the very libidinous woman 
who is pathological. 

We have seen that the normal sexual sentiment of woman is 
developed rather in the direction of love, and desire for childi'en. 
Erotic men often complain of the sexual coldness of theii' wives, 
which is disagreeable to them; for pleasure in one sex excites 
and completes that of the other. Cold women submit to coitus 
as a duty, or at any rate only mentally enjoy their husband's 
caresses. 

Sexual anaesthesia occurs normally in old age. It may occur 
at an earlier age, owing to destruction or atrophy of the sexual 
glands, great excesses, or on the contrary, extreme continence. 
Certain diseases and psychoses may also cause it. 

The following are a few examples of sexual anaesthesia: 

(1). A normally built man, of high culture and moral sense, 
was affected with complete sexual anaesthesia since birth. He 
occasionally had nocturnal emissions, and also matutinal erec- 
tions, but no erotic images. When he arrived at mature age he 
had no idea of sexual intercourse, and was completely indifferent 
to everything concerning sexuality. He did not even compre- 



224 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

hend anything relating to sexual affairs, and his replies reminded 
me of conversations with color-blind persons on the distinction 
between red and green! According to his ideas, marriage was an 
intellectual and sentimental union in which children came by 
themselves! 

He eventually married a young girl, well educated but extremely 
prudish. One can imagine the revelations which followed! The 
wife, who had a strong desire for children, soon perceived the 
sexual blindness of her husband. She became very unhappy 
and bitterly reproached him. The husband then became aware 
that there should be something in marriage which he had not 
taken into account; but the explanations of coitus by the medical 
man were useless, and hypnotic suggestion was incapable of pro- . 
ducing the least sexual sensation. 

In spite of all this, the husband was full of respect and affection 
for his wife, but was incapable of simulating the least sexual 
appetite. As regards the wife, what she required was not coitus, 
which was simply a means to an end, but children. However, her 
prudery made her prefer this state of things to a divorce, which 
would create scandal. We may notice that in such cases erec- 
tions are only produced mechanically during sleep, which renders 
coitus impossible. 

(2). A timid but vain young man of retiring habits, sexually 
cold, had occasional nocturnal emissions sometimes accom- 
panied by slightly erotic dreams. Although better informed than 
the preceding case on sexual relations, his sexual appetite was 
almost entirely absent, and he regarded marriage as a purely 
intellectual alliance. He married an intelligent and passionate 
young girl whose sexual appetite was strongly developed, and at 
once began to treat her with great coldness, as a kind of domestic 
servant. 

The wife's family were in favor of divorce, but having pity on 
the husband, sent him to me for advice. I explained the matter 
to him, made him understand that the fault was entirely on his 
side, and that his first duty was to show affection for his wife, or 
if not, to accept divorce. The effect was purely psychical, and 
from this moment he became amiable and affectionate toward 
his wife. This was sufficient to cause the wife to give up the idea 
of divorce. I then told her that, on account of her husband's 
timidity and anomaly, the only thing to do was to reverse their 
roles, and for her to make the sexual advances. I have not heard 
anything more from this singular couple. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 225 

(3). A young man who had never had sexual connection before 
marriage, in spite of a strong sexual appetite, made the acquaint- 
ance of an intelligent young girl of excellent character. Marriage 
followed, and the wife was loyal to her husband, but remained 
sexually cold. She was insensible to coitus and only regarded it 
as a disagreeable complement of love. In spite of this she was 
fond of caresses, devoted to her husband, and had several children. 

(4). An intelligent and cultured man, normal from the sexual 
point of view, who had frequented prostitutes in his youth, but 
not excessively, married a rather nervous but apparently very 
amorous young woman. The marriage night produced on her 
the effect of a cold douche, and coitus offended and horrified her. 
The husband in his discomfiture took patience; but his love, 
which was never very strong, became shattered. To avoid all 
scandal each of the conjoints practiced dissimulation and adapted 
themselves more or less to each other. The wife allowed coitus, 
the husband tolerated her coldness. vSeveral children were born, 
but the family was unhappy, and after a few years divorce put 
an end to it. 



SEXUAL HYPERESTHESIA, OR EXAGGERATION OF THE 
SEXUAL APPETITE 

This anomaly may be congenital, for example, in the sexual 
paradoxy of children. Every one knows the Don Juans and 
Messalinas with their insatiable appetites. These types of sexual 
hyperaesthesia are certainly less frequent and more abnormal 
in women than in men, but the intensity is as great or greater. 

Sexual hyperaesthesia manifests itself by desires excited by 
every sensorial perception relating to the opposite sex, or simply 
by objects which recall it to the imagination; so that fetichism 
plays a great part in this condition. The feeling of satiety is 
hardly experienced at all, or only for a short time after each 
orgasm. Nymphomaniacs and satyrs are possessed by an insar- 
tiable sexual desire, often associated with certain sensations of 
anguish. This hyperaesthesia, even when it is not hereditary, 
may be developed up to a certain point by continued or repeated 
artificial excitations. 

In women it is during or after menstruation that the sexual 
appetite and consequently sexual hyperesthesia are generally 



226 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

strongest, but there are many individual variations in this 
respect, and sometimes the opposite occurs. 

The effect of sexual hypersesthesia is to direct the appetite 
toward any object capable of satisfying it. Wlien the other 
sex is wanting, masturbation is generally resorted to. All 
mucous membranes (anus, mouth, etc.) and even inanimate 
objects may serve to satisfy the pathologically exalted appetite 
of such individuals. Men most distinguished in other respects 
may abandon themselves to the most foolish or abominable 
practices. 

Animals are often used to satisfy the hyperaesthetic sexual 
appetite in both sexes. Women introduce all kinds of objects 
into the vagina to uritate the clitoris. Men \dsit prostitutes, 
and become excited at the sight of every woman who is neither 
too old nor too repulsive. Some individuals of this kind are 
pursued night and day by erotic images, which may even 
become an obsession and a veritable torment. 

A further degi'ee of sexual hypersesthesia is called ScUyridsis 
in man, and nymphomania in woman. I have observed in 
women two very different varieties of sexual hypersesthesia. 
In one, true nymphomania, the subjects are attracted toward 
man bodily and mentally with an elementary force; in these 
the whole brain follows the appetite in quite a feminine manner. 
Other women, on the contrary, are di'iven to masturbation by a 
purely peripheral excitation; they have erotic dreams with 
venereal orgasms which torment rather than please them; but 
they do not fall in love easily, and may have difficulty in the 
choice of a husband. Theu- mind alone remains feminine, full 
of tact and delicacy in its sentiments, while their lower nerve 
centers react in a more masculine and at the same time more 
pathological maimer. There are many transitional forms 
between these two extremes. 

Sexual hypersesthetics are often unhappy, and consult the 
physician for relief from the perpetual excitation which tor- 
ments them. They attempt to master themselves and check 
their appetite in all ways, and are sometimes affected with ner- 
vous or mental depression. It is important, however, to recog- 
nize the fact, that many sexual hypersesthetics remain quite 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 227 

fresh and active, and attain an advanced age, provided they 
escape alcohol and venereal disease. 

When sexual hypersesthesia results chiefly from artificially 
acquired habits it may often be cured by hypnotic suggestion, 
and establishing self-control; but when it is hereditary and very 
intense, and especially when it is connected with infantile para- 
doxy or other anomalies, castration may be the only efficient 
remedy. When it is chiefly acquired, any strong diversion 
which turns the mind from sexual preoccupation to other sub- 
jects may have an excellent curative effect. The most intense 
hereditary cases may constitute a plague for the individual and 
for society, and it is then that castration may become a blessing 
by calming the obsessed patient, by giving him the opportunity 
for useful occupation, and by preventing him from abusing his 
fellows and procreating beings similar to himself. 

Nymphomaniacs often have polyandrous instincts, and they 
then become more insatiable than men. Several cases of this 
kind have been published in the press, and examples of such 
women are not rare in history. When a woman is possessed by 
passion she often loses all sense of shame, all moral sense and 
all discretion, as regards the object of her desires. She pays no 
attention to anything which is opposed to her passion, but may 
be full of reserve, tact and good-feeling in all other respects. 
Cases of this kind, however, have always a more or less marked 
pathological character. 

In man, satjnriasis is very freque;it. It often happens that a 
husband continually forces his wife to coitus, even during men- 
struation. We have mentioned already the case of an old 
peasant of seventy who thus abused his poor old wife. In such 
cases conjugal infidelity very commonly occm's. The C3niicism 
of such individuals may go so far that they have intercourse 
with prostitutes or servants in the presence of their wives, or 
even abuse their own children. The wife behaves in these cases 
in different w^ays according to her character. Many tolerate 
everything and do not complain, for the sake of their chil- 
dren; others leave the husband or divorce hmi; some commit 
suicide. 

It would seem quite natural for nymphomaniacs to marry 



228 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

satyrs, but we must bear in mind the evil results for posterity 
from such an accumulation of the sexual appetite. 

MASTURBATION OR ONANISM 

The term onanism is derived from the name of Onan, son of 
Juda and Suah and grandson of Israel. According to the Old 
Testament, Onan's father wished him to marry his brother's 
widow and have children by her; but this did not please Onan, 
and he provoked ejaculation of semen by friction, in order to 
avoid having children by his sister-in-law. "This offended God 
who slew him." 

We have already shown that in the child the sexual appetite 
manifests itself in a kind of obscure presentiment and vague 
sensations in the genital organs. If a young man cannot satisfy 
his sexual appetite naturally, the latter when it increases in 
strength provokes erotic dreams and nocturnal emissions; or 
artificial excitation of the penis may be practiced to produce 
orgasms: the latter phenomenon is called masturbation. 

Masturbation in man is performed by friction of the penis 
with the hand or against some soft body. In the latter case 
especially erotic images of naked women or female sexual organs 
is associated with onanism. This kind of masturbation may be 
caUed compensatory, because it does not depend on an anomaly 
of the sexual appetite, but serves to satisfy a natural want by 
compensation. There are a whole series of manipulations em- 
ployed for the same object, which constitute the psychic equiva- 
lent of compensating masturbation. In remote garrisons and 
in boys' schools the more libidinous individuals often satisfy 
themselves either by mutual masturbation or by pederasty, 
i.e., by introducing their penis into the anus of their younger 
companions, especially those who are fat and have a more or less 
feminine appearance. Sodomy, or copulation with animals, 
(cows, goats, etc.) is often performed with the same object. It 
is unnecessary to prolong the enumeration; those we have men- 
tioned are the most common. Men who are addicted to such 
practices are generally considered as depraved and shamefully 
immoral, and great indignation is shown toward them, more or 
less hypocritically. In reality they are often normal in other 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 229 

respects, but simply affected with sexual hypersesthesia. Some- 
times they are feeble-minded individuals who have recourse to 
such practices because they are derided by women. Others are 
cynics, more or less vicious in other respects. 

Compensatory mastm'bation is extremely widespread, but it 
is as a rule neither recognized nor admitted because it is easy to 
conceal. Although depressing for those whose will power is 
overcome by an excitation which they cannot conquer, it is 
relatively the least dangerous form of onanism. At the most it 
leads to a certain amount of nervous and mental exhaustion by 
abuse of the facility of thus procuring a venereal orgasm. The 
loss of substance from frequent seminal ejaculations is also more 
or less weakening, although the secretion from the prostate 
plays a much greater part than the semen. But what especially 
affects the nervous system, is the repeated loss of the will, and 
the failure of resolutions made many times to overcome the 
desire for orgasm. 

Here, as elsewhere, effect is too often confounded with cause. 
Because men of feeble will power are addicted to onanism, it is 
imagined that the latter is the cause of the weakness of will. 
In itself, a seminal ejaculation provoked by masturbation is no 
more dangerous than a nocturnal emission; both are often ac- 
companied by nervous sensations which are more disagreeable 
and exhausting than normal coitus. I must, however, point out 
that the effects of moderate masturbation in the adult have been 
greatly exaggerated, either by confounding the effect with its 
cause, or for mercenary objects, by driving timid persons to 
charlatans or to prostitutes. 

The active sexual appetite of man, increased by the accumula- 
tion of semen, is absent in woman. She does not have nocturnal 
emissions accompanied by voluptuous sensations which spon- 
taneously awaken sexual desire. For this reason a pathological 
sexual excitability is necessary to spontaneously provoke in 
woman voluptuous dreams or masturbation. For the same 
reason we cannot speak of compensatory masturbation in 
woman. Onanism, however, is not uncommon among women, 
although less frequent than in men. It results either from 
artificial and local excitations, from bad example, or from 



230 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

pathological hypersesthesia. ^^^len once the habit is acquired, 
repetition is produced by the difficulty of resisting voluptuous 
desires. 

Women perform masturbation by friction of the clitoris with 
the finger, or by introducing various hard and rounded objects 
into the vagina and imitating the movements of coitus; often 
also by rubbing the crossed thighs against each other. In the 
insane, masturbation is sometimes practiced to an excessive 
extent. Some hysterical women introduce objects into the 
m-ethra during masturbation and cause severe inflammation of 
the bladder. 

Another variety of sexual excitation which is often substi- 
tuted for coitus among women, is the practice of mutual licking 
of the clitoris wdth the tongue (cunnilingus) . Although not so 
dangerous as has been maintained, these habits are aberra- 
tions of the sexual appetite, and it is needless to say that every 
human being should abstain from them out of self-respect. 

The man who, for some reason or another, cannot obtain 
normal coitus should content himself with noctm'nal emissions, 
and the woman with voluptuous dreams, and should both ab- 
stain from active and voluntary excitations. For my part, I 
consider prostitution, or ''love" which is bought, as a variety 
of compensatory masturbation, and not as normal copulation. 
Coitus with a prostitute, generally infected with venereal dis- 
ease, who receives new clients continually, has as little affinity 
with love as with the normal object of the sexual appetite — 
reproduction; and its moral value is certainly inferior to that 
of onanism. 

A second form of masturbation occurs in very young children 
from accidental irritation; in boys from phimosis; in girls from 
itching due to worms (oxyuris) about the anus and vulva. In- 
nocent as regards its cause, this form of onanism may become 
dangerous by habit. Attention should therefore be paid to 
phimosis and worms, and the former treated by circumcision 
and the latter by the usual remedies. 

A third kind of masturbation is caused by example and 
imitation. This often occurs in schools and among children in 
general; and in this way very precocious sexual excitation may 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 231 

develop and become a habit difficult to suppress. The onanism 
of young children is certainly worse than that which begins after 
puberty; it not only renders the child idle and bashful, or in- 
creases these faults; but it also interferes with nutrition and 
digestion and develops a tendency to sexual perversion and to 
impotence. It often ceases, however, after careful supervision, 
combined with physical exercise and fresh air, and direction of 
the attention to other things. On the whole, the danger of this 
form of onanism has also been exaggerated. In most cases it is 
cured, when it is not based on abnormal predispositions or on 
an indolent and feeble character. Love and normal sexual inter- 
course are naturally the best remedies for masturbation due to 
seduction and habit, as soon as the subject has reached sexual 
maturity. 

We may include as a fourth form of masturbation the cases of 
paradoxy which we have mentioned previously. In this case 
onanism is produced spontaneously as the result of psycho- 
sexual precocity or hereditary pathological satyriasis. 

With the exception of the last paradoxical form which is based 
on incurable satyriasis, all the kinds of onanism which we have 
mentioned hitherto can only be successfully treated by kindness 
and confidence, combined with work and direction of the mind 
to wholesome and attractive subjects; not by threats or punish- 
ment. The new reformatory schools called Landerziehungsheime 
(Vide Chapter XVII) are an excellent remedy for onanism, for 
they keep the child occupied from morning to night and hardly 
leave him any time for bad habits; when he goes to bed he is 
too tired to do anything but sleep. However, great prudence 
and active supervision is required in these cases. 

The fifth class is constituted by the onanism of sexual inverts, 
and may be called essential onanism. This concerns men whose 
sexual appetite is directed toward their own sex instead of the 
other. They are called homosexual, and mutual onanism is, so 
to speak, the normal satisfaction of their inverted appetite. We 
shall refer to this again later on. While normal sexual inter- 
course is the best and most rational remedy for compensatory 
masturbation, there is no question of it here. Marriage is the 
worst and most scandalous remedy in such cases. It is therefore 



232 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of the greatest importance in order to judge of the nature of the 
masturbation, to inquire into the kind of erotic images with 
which it is associated. If, in the case of a man, the images are 
those of women, it is simply a case of compensatory masturba- 
tion; but if the images are mascuUne, it is a case of sexual in- 
version. If masturbation is not accompanied by any images, 
the question remains doubtful. In young children this is ex- 
plained by the fact that the psycho-sexual irradiations are not 
yet developed; but after puberty the absence of images as an 
object of eroticism suggests a certain anomaly and sometimes 
depends on a latent tendency to inversion. 

Relation of Masturbation to Hypochondriasis. — Some onanists 
become much distressed, and reproach themselves for having 
spoilt their lives by their bad habit. They give way to lamenta- 
tions before their doctor and their acquaintances, wring their 
hands with despair, and beg every one to come to their aid. 
They look upon themselves as poor sinners whose lives have been 
ruined, either by their own fault or by others. They have read 
Lamert's "Personal Preservation," or other sensational books 
which excite both the fear and the sexual desire of weak char- 
acters, whom they are intended to exploit. These poor devils 
believe themselves lost, and are truly pitiable objects. These 
form the types which are paraded as terrible examples in books 
on onanism which make timid persons' hair stand on end. 

^Vhen these unfortunate onanists are questioned on all the 
circumstances of the act of which they accuse themselves, we 
generally arrive at the following results: 

We recognize that we have to deal with psychopathic or neu- 
rotic subjects more or less tainted by heredity, timid and shun- 
ning their fellows, easily impressed by imagination, possessed 
of unhealthy sentiments and ideas; in fact, h3^ochondriacs, 
predisposed to look upon every sensation or slight indisposition 
as a grave disorder threatening their health or life. They thus 
live in perpetual anxiety. This mental anomaly has for a long 
time preceded the onanism, even if they have masturbated, 
which is often even not the case. 

Among the numerous patients of this kind that I have treated, 
there were many who had simply had nocturnal emissions since 



SEXUAL EVOLUTION 233 

puberty, but they regarded themselves as lost men through 
masturbation! Many others no doubt practice compensatory 
masturbation, generally because their timid nature prevents 
them from frequenting prostitutes, or committing other sexual 
excesses, while the way in which they analyze their sensations 
easily leads them to onanism. On the other hand, they are 
generally so afraid that they do not give way to excessive mas- 
turbation, perhaps only once or twice a week or even less often, 
so that the normal frequency of coitus, according to Luther, is 
often not attained and seldom exceeded. Among these persons 
we find few precocious or excessive onanists, I admit, however, 
that a hypochondriacal constitution predisposes somewhat to 
onanism. 

But, what I wish to lay stress upon, is that the onanists who 
are full of lamentation and self-reproach are neither the most 
numerous nor those who commit the greatest excess. The 
worst onanists, those who provoke several ejaculations daily, 
belong to the category of sexual hypersesthetics. These have 
not the classical aspect attributed to them by tradition; they 
are not pale and terrified creatures, but rather lewd individuals 
who are early transformed into impudent Don Juans. They 
may be as courageous, as clever and as strong as others and yet 
be disposed to all kinds of evil tricks and follies. It is, therefore, 
not true, as is so often said, that it is possible to recognize a 
masturbator by his face or manner. 

These excessive onanists no doubt do themselves harm in 
various ways, but the great error of taking sexual hypochon- 
driasis for the type of onanists, is to confound cause with effect. 
Sexual hypochondriasis is in no way the effect of onanism, but 
precedes it, and onanism is rather its effect, or is simply asso- 
ciated with it. It is obvious that onanism, by its depressing 
effect, aggravates a mind beset with hypochondriacal anxieties. 

It results from these facts, first, that a sexual hypochondriac 
should be treated as a hypochondriac and not as an onanist; 
secondly, that the worst slaves of masturbation are not to be 
looked for among pale and dejected individuals. 

Among women, especially young girls, hypochondriasis is not 
common and cases of sexual hypochondi'iacs who accuse them- 



234 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

selves of masturbating are rare among them. Women who mas- 
turbate generally keep their secret and are apparently very little 
affected by it. However, onanism does them nearly as much 
harm as men; it is true they have no loss of semen, but the 
repetition and intensity of the nervous irritation are greater than 
in man, and it is this which causes most exhaustion. In spite 
of this, it is curious to observe that women who masturbate are 
generally less ashamed than men, and are apparently less de- 
pressed by it. We must bear in mind that the loss of semen by 
masturbation has in man a peculiarly depressing effect, for it 
lacks its object and represents an absolutely abnormal satis- 
faction of the sexual appetite. 

It may be objected that this difference is due to another 
cause, that women who masturbate have less moral tone and 
are especially depraved individuals. I agree that this is often 
the case, but far from always. The intensity of the sexual 
excitability in women has nothing in common with their char- 
acter; it may be associated with high intelligence, with high 
moral and aesthetic qualities, and even with a strong will. On 
the other hand, deficiency in moral sense and will may occur 
with sexual frigidity, and, as we have already seen, may lead to 
sexual excess without any voluptuous sensation, in accordance 
with the peculiarities of feminine sentiment. These facts show 
how complex are the causes of a given effect in the sexual 
domain. 

PERVERSIONS OF THE SEXUAL APPETITE OR PARESTHESIA OF 
THE SEXUAL SENSATION 

We are here concerned with sexual appetite provoked by 
inadequate objects. Krafft-Ebing having made a profound 
study of this question we shall follow his subdivisions in the main. 

Perverted Sexiial Appetite Directed Toward the Opposite Sex. — 
(A.) Sadism (association of sexual desire with cruelty and 
violence). History shows us a number of celebrated persons 
who satisfied their sexual desire by making martjTS of then- 
victims, up to complete butchery. The most atrocious types 
of this kind are perhaps assassins such as "Jack the Ripper," 
who lie in wait for their victims like cats, pounce on them, revel 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 235 

in their terror, assassinate them by inches, and wallow volup- 
tuously in their blood. 

The term sadism is derived from the celebrated Marquis de 
Sade, a French author, whose obscene romances overflow with 
cruel voluptuousness. Certain reminiscences of sadism are com- 
mon both in man and woman. At the moment of highest exci- 
tation in coitus it is not uncommon for one or other of the couple 
to bite or scratch in the ecstasy of their amorous embraces. 
Lombroso remarks on the brutal excesses of soldiers when ex- 
cited after battle. This is so to speak an inversion of sadism 
as regards cause and effect. After the exaltation of combat, 
that of desire possesses the mind, as in the inverse direction 
exaltation of desire gives rise in certain cases to that of violence 
and thirst for blood. 

Krafft-Ebing draws attention to the fact that love and anger 
are the two most violent effective conditions, and are at the same 
time the two powers which provoke the most motor discharges. 
This explains why they may be associated in the delirium of 
unbridled passions. To these facts is added an atavistic relic 
of the instinct of man's ancestors, the males of whom fought 
furiously to conquer the females by violence, which provoked 
desire in them, after the subjection of the object of their sexual 
appetite. True sadism can, however, only become effective 
by the combination of two causes: (1) by an exalted and abso- 
lutely pathological association of sexual desire with a sanguinary 
instinct, and with the desire to ill treat and overcome a victim; 
(2) by an almost absolute absence of moral sense and sympathy, 
combined with a violent and egoistic sexual passion. It is 
evident that the slight more or less sadic impulses which may 
involuntarily occur in the performance of normal coitus, are 
quite exempt from the second of these causes. 

Krafft-Ebing maintains that sadism is usually, if not always, 
congenital and hereditary. Sadism is for a long time restrained 
by fear, education or moral sentiments. It is only gradually, 
when normal coitus cannot procure for the perverted sexual 
appetite the satisfaction it requires, that the sadist gives way 
to his passion; this gives the latter a false appearance of 
acquired vice. 



236 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

The highest degi'ee of sadism leads to assassination. In this 
way human tigers entice young girls into a wood and cut them 
to pieces. Some begin by forcing them to coitus, after frighten- 
ing them, or half strangling them; others masturbate in their 
ripped up entrails. But some others have no desire for coitus, 
nor anything resembling it, their desire being satisfied only by 
the sight of the terror, suffering and blood of their victim, 
whom they torture before killing. Others again associate 
desire with the rage of a wild beast to such a point that they 
swallow parts of their victim's body and drink the blood. 

Sadists become experts in the art of assassination without dis- 
covery. The cynicism with which some of them have described 
their sensations shows their cold indifference toward the tragic 
and the horrible. Krafft-Ebing describes a series of atrocious 
types of this kind, and unfortunately the press and the criminal 
law courts continually give us fresh examples. Some sadists 
assassinate children, others men, when their perversion is com- 
plicated with pederasty or sexual inversion. (The story of 
Bluebeard is probably based on the successive crimes of a sadic.) 

Sadists do not always confine their attacks to living people; 
some of them are necrophiles, who violate dead bodies and cut 
them in pieces: others again kill animals, whose sufferings and 
blood serve to satisfy their desires. 

Some sadists satisfy themselves by flogging prostitutes or 
pricking them till they bleed, while others prefer to martyrize 
their victims slowly, and thus procure the maximum of pleasure. 
Others again are contented with scenes symbolical of servitude, 
in which women are compelled to adore and supplicate them, 
etc. The humiliation of women takes part in the sadist appe- 
tite of man and often degenerates into fetichism. Simple imagi- 
nation in which he plays the part of a tyrant, and which are com- 
plicated with onanism or normal coitus, often suffice to satisfy 
the sadist. Some sadists soil themselves with the excrements 
of the woman they "love!" When sadism assumes the charac- 
ter of a symbol or a fetich, seminal ejaculation and sensation 
generally occur without contact with the woman's body. 

Sadism is more common in men, but occurs also in women. 
Messalina and Catherine de Medici are historical examples. The 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 237 

latter had her maids of honor flogged before her eyes, and said 
she was bathing in roses when she witnessed the massacre of 
the Huguenots. Women in whom sadism takes a milder form 
are contented with biting a man till he bleeds, during coitus. 

Sadism appears to be most often an effect of hereditary 
alcoholic blastophthoria. 

(B). Masochism (association of sexual desire with submission 
to cruelty and violence). The term masochism is applied by 
Krafft-Ebing to a form of sexual perversion described by Sacher- 
Masoch in several of his romances. Masochism is exactly the 
converse of sadism. The desire of the masochist is excited by 
humiliation, submission, and even blows; the pain he feels 
when he is flogged gives him intense pleasure. Like sadism, this 
perversion may be incomplete. When it is complete the maso- 
chist is affected with psychic impotence and is incapable of nor- 
mal coitus. Ill-treatment and humiliation are alone capable of 
causing him erections, seminal ejaculations and pleasure. How- 
ever, comedies representing his humiliation, or corresponding 
efforts of his imagination may succeed in replacing the reality 
and procure the desired effect. 

Like sadism, masochism is hereditary and congenital. When 
the first sexual sensations are produced, the masochist child 
sighs for a dominating woman who will illtreat him and make 
him her slave. His imagination is transported by the idea of 
being on his knees, of being trodden under foot, or bound in 
chains by her, etc. The cruel heroine of his heart must ridicule 
and humiliate him as much as possible. Corporal punishment 
with a beneficial object does not satisfy the true masochist. 
Rousseau, in his "Confessions," reveals the sexual feelings of the 
masochist. 

It is remarkable how far poetic conceptions are combined with 
the perversion of sexual sensations in masochists, leading them 
to dream of an imperious and cruel woman to whom they devote 
a love as humble as it is exalted, while normal coitus causes them 
no pleasure, and can sometimes only be accomplished with the 
aid of masochistic images. These images may also be accom- 
panied by onanism. It is very common for masochists to be- 
come flagellants, and to be flogged or trampled on by prostitutes. 



238 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

But it often happens that they only feel pain instead of pleasure, 
when the comedy which they have started appears revealed in 
all its absurdity, showing them a woman paid to illtreat them, 
and not doing it for her own enjoyment. Some masochists take 
pleasure in imagining themselves assassinated by a woman, or 
even cut in pieces. Others organize theatrical performances in 
which imperious women play the part of judges, before whom 
they appear naked and are flogged and condemned to death. 
Others again are contented with imagining these performances, 
combining them sometimes with coitus or masturbation. 

Krafft-Ebing is no doubt right in considering the lucubrations 
of the poet Baudelaire, and his necrophile imagination of his 
own carrion hung on a gibbet and devoured by vultures, as a 
mixture of sadism and masochism. He sought out the most 
repulsive women of all races, Chinese, negresses, dwarfs, giants, 
or modern women as artificial as possible, to satisfy his patholo- 
gical instinct. The following case quoted by Krafft-Ebing from 
Hammond, is typical: 

A married man and father of several children was sometimes 
subject to attacks during which he visited a brothel, where he 
chose two or three of the fattest women. He stripped the upper 
part of his body, lay on the floor, crossed his hands, shut his eyes 
and ordered the women to tread wdth all their force on his chest, 
neck and face. Sometimes he required a still heavier woman or 
more cruel manipulations. After two or three hours he was 
satisfied, paid the women liberally and regaled them with wine, 
rubbed his bruises, dressed himself and returned to his office, to 
repeat this singular performance a week later. 

Krafft-Ebing describes, as masked masochism, certain cases of 
fetichism in which the nature of the fetich which causes sexual 
excitation and the manner in which it is used prove a desire for 
maltreatment and humiliation by a woman. This is especially 
the case with shoe and foot fetichism. Among those who are 
affected with this pathological specialty, voluptuous sensations 
are produced when they are trodden on by a woman's shoes or 
feet. They even dream of women's shoes and feet. Some of 
them put nails in their shoes, the pain of which gives them volup- 
tuous sensations. Lastly, the shoes alone, especially when they 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 239 

touch the penis, are sufficient to excite their sexual desire. 
Other masked masochists are excited by the secretions or even 
excrements of women. 

I have been consulted by a typical masochist, who, being very 
religious, was convinced that his perverted sexual appetite was 
a sin. He therefore married, thinking that God and repentance 
would change him. But when married he naturally found him- 
self absolutely impotent and incapable of coitus. 

If masochism is common in men, it is produced in women 
rather as an exaggeration in the domain of her normal sexual 
sensations, for it is to a great extent in harmony with her pas- 
sive sexual role. Woman does not like the weak man who sub- 
mits to her. She prefers a master on whom she can lean. In 
fact, normal women do not like their husbands to ask advice 
from them too often, nor to be wanting in decision and self- 
confidence. On the contrary they Hke them to be firm and 
even somewhat imperious, provided they are not unkind. It is 
notorious that many women like to be beaten by their husbands, 
and are not content unless this is done. This appears to be 
especially common in Russia. Accentuated forms of patho- 
logical masochism are, however, rare in women. 

Masochism presents a certain analogy with the religious 
ecstasy of fakirs and flagellants who flog themselves. These in- 
dividuals appear to become exalted in a kind of ecstatic con- 
vulsion with the idea of pleasing God or gaining Heaven by 
their martp-dom. We may add that, like sadism, masochism 
occurs in sexual inverts, but always having the same sex for its 
object. I know an old gentleman whose only pleasure con- 
sisted in receiving a shower of blows: as a boy, like Rousseau 
he tried by all kinds of ruses to obtain corporal punishment: 
when he grew up this became impossible and he devised tricks 
to urge schoolboys to fight each other, pretending to be angry 
and exciting their spirit of contradiction: the boys then pre- 
tended to fight him, and this sufficed for the rest of his life to 
excite erections and seminal ejaculations. This gentleman was 
a lawyer and told me his history, hoping that suggestion might 
cm'e him. 

The eroticism produced by submission to pain and humilia- 



240 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

tion is often blended with that produced by performing acts of 
cruelty. These mixtures of sadism and masochism have been 
investigated by Schrenk Notzing, who concludes that they are 
intimately related. 

Fetichism (production of voluptuous sensations by contact 
with or by the sight of certain portions of the body or clothes 
of woman). We have already mentioned this symptom and 
have seen the part it plays in some forms of masochism. A 
masked form of fetichism forms part of the normal sexual appe- 
tite, in the sense that certain parts of the body or clothes, certain 
odors, etc., especially excite the sexual desire of many people by 
recalling the individual to whom they belong. Therefore, parts 
of the body which normally excite sexual desire — the breasts, 
sexual organs, or other parts of the body usually covered — can- 
not be regarded as pathological fetiches. 

The true fetichist is a very pathological being, whose entire 
sexual appetite, often with all its uTadiations in the higher 
sphere of love, if we can speak of love in such cases, is limited 
to certain objects connected with woman. The most common 
fetiches are women's handkerchiefs, gloves, velvet or shoes; 
or their hair, hands or feet, etc. In these cases the fetich plays 
the essential part, and is in no way associated with the image 
of a woman. The fetich is the sole object of " love." The sight 
or touch of the fetich, the pleasure of pressing it against the 
heart or the genital organs, are alone capable of producing 
erections and ejaculations. There are even fetichists whose 
sexual desire is only excited by the sight of certain feminine 
deformities, such as clubfoot, squint, etc. Hairdressers, who mas- 
turbate after dressing women's hair, are well-known examples 
of fetichism. 

Certain feminine costumes may serve as fetiches, and these 
are kept in some brothels to satisfy certain customers. Shoe 
fetichism is more common than that of clothes or handker- 
chiefs. Krafft-Ebing mentions a typical case of the psychic irra- 
diation of fetichism; the individual in question thought it im- 
moral and scandalous that women's shoes should be exposed in 
shop windows. Others blush when they see such things in the 
windows. Fetichism is essentially a masculine perversion, I 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 241 

have been consulted by a fetichist who all his life had only felt 
erotic at the sight of shoes; later on he married, and his sexual 
desire becoming more and more concentrated on pointed and 
fashionable shoes, especially women's, but also men's, he could 
only obtain pleasure with his wife when she put on the shoes he 
was in love with, or when he put them on himself. The sight of 
shoes in shop windows always made him blush, while the female 
body made no impression on him. He could not buy the shoes 
he desired most, owing to a sentiment of shame, and the sight 
of them was often sufficient to produce erection and ejaculation. 

Exhibitionism. There is a class of individuals, especially 
men, whose sole sexual desire consists in masturbating in the 
presence of women. They lie in wait behind some wall or bush, 
and masturbate openly when women pass that way. In these 
subjects an orgasm is only produced when they are observed by 
women. As soon as ejaculation has occurred they fly to avoid 
the police. They never attempt to molest the women whose 
presence excites them to this performance. 

These cases are not uncommon and naturally cause much 
scandal, so that the poor wretches seldom escape the police. 
These unfortunate persons who sometimes hold high social posi- 
tions, have often been previously convicted, but cannot as a 
rule overcome their passion, which has much worse consequences 
for them than for the women and children whom they frighten 
or annoy. 

Exhibitionism is not rare among insane women and I have 
myself treated two typical cases, I do not know whether it 
occurs in women of sound mind, but at all events they caimot 
be addicted to it without running great risk. 

Sexual Inversion or Homosexual Love. — However shocking or 
absurd the aberrations of the sexual appetite and its irradiations 
may be, of which we have spoken hitherto, they are at any rate 
derived from originally normal intercourse with adults of the 
opposite sex. Those we have now to deal with are distinguished 
by the fact that, not only the appetite itself, but all its psychic 
irradiations are directed to the same sex as the perverted indi- 
vidual, the latter being horrified at the idea of genital contact 
with the opposite sex, quite as much as a normal man is horrified 



242 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

at the idea of homosexual union. This horror is, however, con- 
fined to sexual matters, and in no way concerns those of social 
life. It is therefore a question of sexual desire of man for man, 
and woman for woman. 

What we have to deal with here has no connection with com- 
pensation as in cases of compensatory masturbation or ped- 
erasty, which are practiced, for want of anything better, by 
individuals whose normal sexual appetite cannot be satisfied 
otherwise. When excitation and desire become too strong, the 
purely animal (spinal) irritation of the sexual appetite may 
drive a man or woman to satisfy themselves by means which 
would otherwise disgust them. 

A. Homosexual love in man. It seems absurd that the whole 
sexual appetite and amorous ideals of a man can be directed all 
his life to persons of his own sex. This pathological phenome- 
non, however, is as common as it is certain, although its psy- 
chological and normal import has long been misapprehended, 
as much in judicial cu'cles as by the general public. It is the 
inverts themselves, aided by psychiatrists, who have finally 
thrown light on the subject. An invert, named Ulrich, an- 
nounced himself publicly as the apostle of homosexual love, 
describing inverts under the name of Urnings, a name which is 
still used in Germany. Ulrich and his disciples endeavored to 
prove an absurdity by maintaining that homosexuals are a 
special kind of normal men, and by attempting to obtain legal 
sanction for this kind of love. Ulrich gives the name Dionings 
to men whose sexual appetite is normal, i.e., directed toward 
women. Such a pretension appears necessarily ridiculous to 
every man whose sexual sense is normal, and it is obviously 
absurd to apply the term "normal" to a sexual appetite abso- 
lutely devoid of its natural object, procreation. But this is 
quite characteristic of the sentiments of inverts. 

Hirschfeld, of Berlin, has recently attempted to show that 
homosexuals constitute a variety of normal man; but he plays 
with words and facts, invoking the names of celebrated inverts, 
and wrongly asserts that inversion is not hereditary. 

From the first dawn of sexual feeling in youth, male inverts 
have the same feehngs as girls toward other boys. They feel 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 243 

the need for passive submission, they become easily enraptured 
over novels and dress, they like to occupy themselves with femi- 
nine pursuits, to dress like girls and to frequent women's 
societies. They regard women as friends, as persons with whom 
they have a fellow-feeling. They generally, but not always, 
have a banal sentimentalism, they are fond of religious forms 
and ceremonies, they admire fine clothes and luxurious apart- 
ments; they dress their hair and ''fake" themselves with a 
coquetry which often exceeds that of women. They are not all 
like this, but one or other of these traits predominates in different 
individuals. 

Their sexual appetite, usually very strong and precocious, be- 
gins with an exalted love for some male friend. I have treated 
a great number of inverts and have always been struck with the 
intensity of their passion. Among other cases, I may mention 
that of an invert hospital attendant, who fell madly in love with 
one of his comrades and covered ten meters of white tape with 
the name of his beloved. The most passionate love letters, vows 
of fidelity till death, the most ferocious jealousy toward other 
friends of their beloved, and even ceremonies symbolical of 
marriage, are daily events among the homosexuals. 

The invert does not so easily become enamored of another 
invert as of normal men. These have a special attraction for 
him, but as they generally repulse him with disgust, or threaten 
to expose or exploit him, he is often obliged to content himself 
with his fellows. These gentlemen form among themselves a 
secret brotherhood, a kind of freemasonry which is recognized 
by signs. 

The first appearance of the homosexual appetite with its 
youthful impulses, causes love and happiness to appear to the 
invert in a special aspect, determined by the inverted irradia- 
tion of his sexual appetite. It represents the aim of his life as 
an amorous union with his beloved, and shapes his idylls, his 
romance and his ideal to this end. But later on, when his sexual 
desire increases and when he discovers that the majority of men 
feel differently to him, that the human race is reproduced by 
the union of men and women, etc., he becomes unhappy. He 
perceives that it would be both ridiculous and dangerous to 



244 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

reveal his inner feelings, and generally gives way to masturba- 
tion. But all social barriers which oppose his appetite only in- 
crease his desire, and he becomes less and less able to dominate 
his passion for certain young men. The disgust and indignation 
of the latter, when they discover that they are not the object 
of simple affection but of perverted sexual love, are expressed 
only too clearly, and the poor invert sees himself condemned to 
perpetual torment in trying to hide his most violent desires and 
his most intimate and ideal aspirations, and finally to live in 
continual dread of being betrayed and prosecuted. It is thus 
easy to understand that he is happy in the discovery that his 
fellows form a secret society, and he associates with them im- 
mediately, when his moral sense and will are not strong enough 
to be proof against it. 

If the invert succeeds in finding a male lover, he does not 
usually imitate coitus by introducing his penis into the anus of 
his beloved, but contents himself at first with mutual mastur- 
bation. However, the characteristic homosexual experiences 
the most complete pleasure when another man introduces his 
penis into the anus, i.e., when he plays the part of what is called 
the passive pederast. Others prefer to act as active pederasts. 

The invert's ideal would be to obtain a legal hcense for mar- 
riage between men; but they are not very constant in their 
love and are much inclined to polyandry. Sexual love for 
women inspires them with contempt; they regard it as low and 
disgusting, at the most only good for the production of young 
inverts! 

Homosexual love has played a much greater part in the 
world's history than is generally beheved. The Count de 
Platen and Sapho were inverts. The inverts themselves main- 
tain that it was the same with Plato, Frederick the Great, Soc- 
rates, etc.; but this is not proved. In the East and in Brazil, 
homosexual love is very common. 

My experience agrees \\dth that of Krafft-Ebing, that homo- 
sexual love is pathological in nature, and that nearly all 
inverts are in a more or less marked degree psychopaths or 
neurotics, whose sexual appetite is not only abnormal but 
usually also exalted. Insane inverts, such as King Louis II of 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 245 

Bavaria, a great number of the insane, affected, for example, 
with Pseudologia phantastica (pathological swindlers), and who 
are also homosexual, show the intimate relationship which 
exists between sexual inversion (also called " uranism ") and 
the psychoses. 

I agree with Rudin that the psycho-pathological phenomena 
presented by the majority of inverts are primitive and heredi- 
tary, and that they are hardly ever the effect of their tormented 
life, as Hirschfeld, Ulrich and their disciples maintain. The 
vexations, anxieties and other torments that they suffer may 
no doubt play a part in developing certain nervous conditions 
previously latent, but they can never create hereditary taints. 
We may admit that sexual inversion corresponds to a kind of 
partial hermaphrodism, in which the sexual glands and copula- 
tory organs have the characters of one of the sexes, while the 
brain has, to a great extent, those of the other sex; but the 
phenomenon is none the less pathological. 

The inverts with whom we have most to do, especially in pub- 
lic asylums and at the courts of justice, are cynics and debauchees 
in spite of the ideal which they parade; but we should be wrong 
in concluding that this is always the case. The cynics make 
themselves heard because they do not restrain themselves. In 
my private practice I have known many very well-conducted 
inverts, possessing the most dehcate sentiments, who had be- 
come pessimists owing to the shame and grief of a state of mind 
which they hid from the world. 

Inverts of this class often commit suicide, after having carried 
on in silence a desperate struggle against their morbid appetite, 
because they prefer death to defeat, which they consider a dis- 
honor. The victims of these tragedies deserve all our pity, and 
sometimes our respect. Such individuals generally hold aloof 
from the brotherhood of inverts which they look upon with fear 
or disgust. 

In the picture of homosexuals there are two lamentable 
shadows, which are largely due to the severity with which most 
legislations track and condemn these unfortunate beings. 

(1). As soon as an invert realizes his abnormal and dangerous 
situation in society, in which he feels a pariah, he often makes up 



246 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

his mind to follow the advice of ignorant friends, and even, alas, 
of ignorant doctors, and try and cure himself by marriage. Some- 
times he begins by visiting a brothel to see if he is capable of 
normal coitus with a woman. In this he often succeeds, if he is 
able to picture to himself a man in the person of the prostitute. 
He tries to persuade himself that the disgust which he felt at 
this experimental coitus was due to the fact that the "love" 
was bought; and he then decides to enter into conjugal life. 
This is at the same time the greatest absurdity and the worst 
action possible for him to commit, for his wife becomes a martyr 
and soon feels herself deceived, abandoned and despised. The 
invert treats her as a servant; he rarely has sexual intercourse 
with her, sometimes not at all, and only performs it with repug- 
nance with a view to the procreation of young inverts, who will 
rise to his ideal. He invites his male lovers to his house and 
they indulge in orgies, especially when the wife, despised and 
neglected, has separated from him. Such marriages, which are 
fortunately less common since this question has been better 
understood, generally end in divorce, preceded by bitter and 
mutual deceptions. It is really criminal to favor them when 
we know what they lead to. It is against such unions, and 
not against sexual intercourse between adult men, that the law 
ought to exert itself. 

(2) . A second very grave result of homosexual love is the con- 
tinual blackmail which is levied on inverts by all kinds of scamps. 
Public urinals are common meeting places for inverts. The 
blackmailers, who know this very well, follow them there and 
offer themselves for money; but as soon as they find out the 
name of their victim and his financial position, they begin to 
extort hush-money, threatening to prosecute him if he does not 
pay what they ask. If the invert is rich or of high position he 
has only to yield to the extortion, emigrate or commit suicide. 
In this way the life of most well-to-do inverts is ruined by per- 
petual anxieties, emotions and torments, because their morbid 
appetite instinctively urges them to abandon themselves to men 
who feel differently to themselves. 

Moll, Krafft-Ebing and Hirschfeld have wi'itten at great 
length on sexual inversion. The law takes a false point of view 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 247 

and is generally much too severe as regards this anomaly, 
especially in Germanic countries. So long as homosexual love 
does not affect minors nor insane persons, it is^ comparatively 
innocent, for it produces no offspring and consequently dies out 
by means of selection. When the two individuals are adults 
and in accord, it is certainly less harmful than legally protected 
prostitution. ^Vhen a normal man is tormented by an invert, 
it is much easier to get rid of him than for a young girl to protect 
herself against the importunities of a man who persecutes her. 

It is quite another thing when the invert pays his attentions 
to minors, or when his appetites are complicated with dangerous 
sexual paraesthesias, such as sadism. Not long ago the terrible 
case of a sadist invert, Dippold, startled civilized Europe. By 
the aid of cruelty and intimidation this wretch martyrized two 
young boys confided to him for their education to such a degree 
that one of them died. Legal protection of the two sexes 
against sexual abuses of all kinds should be extended at least 
to the age of seventeen or eighteen. 

Sexual inversion has two curious results which have not 
received sufficient attention. Human society regards it as quite 
natural and without danger for individuals of the same sex to 
bathe, sleep and live together. In lunatic asylums, prisons, 
reformatories, etc., men are attended to by men, and women by 
women. The vow of chastity of Catholic priests and nuns leads 
in the same way to separation of the sexes. In all these cus- 
toms sexual inversion has not been taken into consideration. 
It is not surprising, therefore, that homosexuals take advantage 
of this state of affairs and seek these situations which give them 
the opportunity for satisfying their perverted passions without 
running much danger. They willingly choose the career of 
Catholic priest, and especially that of attendant in lunatic 
asylums. In the latter case they take advantage of the mental 
condition of the patients and their incapacity to make com- 
plaints. In public baths inverts can freely enjoy the sight of 
naked men. 

So far we have only spoken of complete inversion; but there 
are transitional stages. Many individuals are neutral, animated 
by sensations floating between the two sexes. Krafft-Ebing 



248 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

even speaks of psycho-sexual hermaphrodites, who are equally 
attracted by either sex, and cohabit sometimes with one, some- 
times with the other. I knew a married man who was very 
capable with his wife but in spite of this was unfaithful to her, 
both with men and with other women. He was convicted sev- 
eral times for pederasty with men and young boys, and confessed 
to me that he had more pleasure from homosexual intercourse 
than from normal connection with women, but could satisfy 
himself either way. An incomplete invert declared to me that 
his ideal would be a man with a vagina! 

Along with these cases there is a series of homosexuals in 
whom it is assumed that inversion has been acquired, because 
they commenced with a normal sexual desire for women. After 
being seduced by homosexuals, who initiate them in mutual 
onanism or pederasty, they are suddenly or gradually disgusted 
with women and become inverts (vide Suggestion). In reality, 
these are only relatively cases of acquired inversion. If we 
except the cases which depend on pure suggestion of which we 
shall speak later, there is a latent hereditary disposition to inver- 
sion, which is awakened on the first occasion and then develops 
strongly. It is easy to prove that men with normal sexual in- 
stincts immediately abandon the habits of onanism or pederasty 
which they have contracted through bad example or seduction, 
or by compensation for the want of the normal object, as soon 
as they can obtain normal sexual intercourse with one or more 
women. It is, therefore, false to regard homosexual sensations 
as depending on vice and depravity: they are a pathological 
product of abnormal hereditary sexual dispositions. At any 
rate, this is a general rule which has few exceptions. 

Sexual inversion is so widespread that in certain countries, 
for instance Brazil, and even in some European towns, there are 
brothels with men instead of women. 

I will mention here a very curious case of purely psychical 
but complete inversion of the sexual personality, combined with 
complete sexual anaesthesia: 

A man, aged 22, the son of an inebriate, with one imbecile 
sister. Of delicate constitution, but very intelligent, he was 
possessed since infancy with the idea that he was a girl, although 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 249 

his genital organs were properly formed and were normally devel- 
oped at puberty. He had a horror of the society of boys, and of 
all masculine work, while he was quite happy in performing all 
the household duties of a woman. An irresistible obsession 
urged him to dress himself as a woman, and neither contempt, 
ridicule, nor punishment could cure him of it. Attempts to give 
him employment as a boy in a small town failed completely. 
His girlish manners made him suspected by the police, who 
took him for a girl dressed in boy's clothes, and threatened to 
arrest him. When he was compelled to put on male attire he 
consoled himself with wearing a woman's chemise and corset 
underneath. 

I carefully examined this individual and found him affected 
with complete sexual anesthesia. He had a horror of everything 
connected with the sexual appetite, but the idea of sexual inter- 
course with men was still more repugnant than that of normal 
coitus with women. Although the testicles and penis appeared 
absolutely normal, he never had erections. His voice was high 
pitched and his whole manner suggested that of a eunuch. 

This case is very instructive, for it clearly shows how the 
psycho-sexual personality may be predetermined by heredity 
in the brain alone, independently of the sexual organs, and even 
act without a trace of sexual sensation or appetite. This was 
undoubtedly a case of alcoholic blastophthoria and not ordinary 
heredity. 

Krafft-Ebing describes the following scene, taken from a 
Berlin journal, dated February, 1894, which gives a good idea 
of the manners and customs of the homosexual fraternity: 

" The misogynist's ball. Almost all the social elements of 
Berlin have their club or meeting place — the fat, the bald, the 
bachelors, the widowers — why not the misogynists? This va- 
riety of the human species, whose society is hardly edifying, 
but whose psychology is peculiar, held a fancy dress ball a few 
days ago. The sale, or rather the distribution of tickets was 
kept very private. Their meeting place is a well-known danc- 
ing hall. We enter the hall about midnight. Dancing is going 
on to the music of a good orchestra. A thick cloud of smoke 
obscures the lamps and prevents us at first from distinguishing 
the details of the scene. It is only during an interval that we 



250 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

can make a closer examination. Most of the people are 
masked, dress coats and ball dresses are exceptional. 

" But what do I see? This lady in rose tarlatan, who has just 
pirouetted before us has a cigar in her mouth and smokes like a 
trooper. She has also a small beard, half hidden by paint. 
And she is now talking to an "angel" in tights, very decollete, 
with bare arms crossed behind her, also smoking. They have 
men's voices and the conversation is also masculine, for it turns 
on 'this cursed tobacco will not draw.' Two men dressed as 
women! 

"A clown In conventional costume leaning against a pillar is 
speaking tender words to a ballet dancer, with his arm round her 
waist. She has a Titian head, a fine profile and good figure. 
Her brilhant earrings, her necklace, her shapely shoulders and 
arms seem to proclaim her sex, when suddenly disengaging her- 
self from the embracing arm she turns away with a yawn, say- 
ing in a bass voice, 'Emile, why are you so tiresome to-day?' 
The novice hardly believes his eyes : the ballet dancer is also a 
man. 

" Becoming suspicious, we continue our investigations, begin- 
ning to think that the world is here upside down. Here is a man 
who comes tripping along; but no, it cannot be a man, in spite 
of the small and carefully curled mustache. The dressing of 
the hair, the powder and paint on the face, the blackened eye- 
brows, the gold earrings, the bouquet of flowers on the breast 
and shoulder, the elegant black go-^m, the gold bracelets, the 
fan held in a white-gloved hand — none of these things suggest a 
man. And with what coquetry he fans himself; how he dances 
and skips about! Nevertheless, Nature has created this doll in 
the form of a man. He is a salesman in one of the large sweet 
shops, and the ballet dancer is his colleague! 

"At the table in the corner there is a convivial meeting; sev- 
eral elderly gentlemen are gathered round a gi'oup of very 
decollete 'ladies' sitting over a glass of wine and cracking jokes 
which are anything but delicate. 'Who are these three ladies?' 
'Ladies! laughs my better-informed companion; well, the one 
on the right with the brown hair and short fancy dress is a hair- 
dresser; the second, the blonde with the pearl necklace is known 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 251 

here by the name of Miss Ella, and he is a ladies' tailor; the 
third is the celebrated Lottie.' 

" But this cannot be a man? The waist, the bust, the dehcate 
arms, the whole appearance is feminine! I am told that Lottie 
was formerly an accountant. To-day she, or rather he, is 
simply 'Lottie,' and takes pleasure in deceiving men as to his 
sex as long as possible. At this moment Lottie is singing a song 
in a contralto voice acquired by prolonged practice, which a 
female singer might envy. Lottie has also taken female parts 
on the stage. Nowadays the former accountant is so imbued 
with his female role that he seldom appears in the street except 
in woman's attire, and even wears an embroidered nightdress. 

''On closer examination of the persons present, I discovered 
to my astonishment several acquaintances. My bootmaker, 
whom I should never have taken for a misogynist, appears 
to-night as a troubador with sword and plumed cap; and his 
* Leonora,' in the costume of a bride, generally serves me with 
Havanas in a cigar store. When Leonora removed her gloves I 
recognized her at once by her large chilblained hands. Here is 
my haberdasher promenading in an indelicate costume as Bac- 
chus; also a Diana, dressed up atrociously, who is really a waiter 
at a cafe. 

"It is impossible to describe the real 'ladies' who are at this 
ball. They only associate with each other and avoid the women- 
hating men; while the latter also keep to themselves and abso- 
lutely ignore the fair sex." 

B. Feminine Sexual Inversion and Homosexual Love. — Sex- 
ual inversion is not rare in women, but manifests itself less pub- 
licly than the corresponding masculine inversion. It is called 
Lesbian love or saphism; and the women inverts are known as 
trihacles. They are described in history, but may also be ob- 
served in modern towns. They satisfy their pathological 
appetite by mutual masturbation, especially by mutual licking 
of the cUtoris {cunnilingus) . The feminine invert likes to dress 
as a man and feels like a man toward other women. She goes in 
for manly games, wears her hair short, and takes to men's occu- 
pations in general. Her sexual appetite is often much exalted 
and then she becomes a veritable feminine Don Juan. I have 



252 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

known several women of this kind, who held veritable orgies 
and induced a whole series of young girls to become their lovers, 
in the way we have just indicated. 

Here again, as in masculine inversion, there is a true irradiated 
love. Inverts want to marry and swear eternal fidelity; they 
celebrate their betrothals, even openly, the invert in male atthe 
representing the bridegroom; or sometimes they have secret 
symbols, such as exchanging rings, etc. These sexual orgies are 
often seasoned with alcohol. 

The excesses of female inverts exceed those of the male. 
One orgasm succeeds another, night and day, almost without 
interruption. Jealousy is also as strong as among male inverts. 
However, these nymphomaniac inverts are not very common. 

A characteristic peculiarity of feminine inversion depends on 
the hradiation of the sexual appetite in woman (vide Chapters 
IV and V). We have seen that there is much less distinction 
in woman between love and local sensations of pleasure, and 
between friendship and love, than in man. When a woman 
invert wishes to seduce a normal gh'l, it is easy for her to do so. 
She first wins her affection by the aid of the caresses of an 
exalted platonic love, which is not uncommon among women; 
kisses, embraces, and sleeping in the same bed are much more 
conmion among girls than boys, and Uttle by Httle the invert 
succeeds in causing voluptuous sensations in her victim. Very 
often the object of these caresses does not recognize that there 
is anything abnormal in all this, or gives way to her sensations 
without reflection, and then becomes amorous in her tm-n. I 
will give an example: 

A female invert, dressed as a young man, succeeded in win- 
ning the love of a normal girl, and was formally betrothed to 
her. Soon afterwards the woman was unmasked, arrested and 
sent to an asylum, where she was made to put on woman's 
clothes. But the young ghl who had been deceived continued 
to be amorous and visited her ''lover," who embraced her 
before every one, in a state of voluptuous ecstasy, which I wit- 
nessed myself. When this scene was over, I took the young 
girl aside and expressed my astonishment at seeing her con- 
tinue to have any regard for the sham "young man" who had 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 253 

deceived her. Her reply was characteristic of a woman: "Ah! 
you see, doctor, I love him, and I cannot help it!'' 

What can one reply to such logic? A psychic love of this 
kind is hardly possible in man; but if we go to the bottom of 
the matter and study the nature of woman, we can understand 
how certain feminine exaltations may be unconsciously trans- 
formed into love, platonic at first, afterwards sexual. At first, 
"they understand each other so well," and have so much mu- 
tual S3nnpathy; they give each other pet names, they kiss and 
embrace, and perform all kinds of tender actions. Finally, a 
graduated scale of caresses leads almost unconsciously to sexual 
excitation. 

This is how it happens that a normal woman, systematically 
seduced by an invert, may become madly in love with her and 
commit sexual excesses with her for years, without being her- 
self essentially pathological. The case only becomes really 
pathological when it is definitely fixed by long habit; a thing 
which easily occurs in woman, owing to the constant and 
monogamous nature of her love. 

Krafft-Ebing's cases show the same phenomena, (for instance 
the invert called "Count Sandor" and her victims). In these 
cases also young guis, seduced by inverts, fell into despair and 
even threatened to commit suicide when their seducers aban- 
doned them. On the other hand, when a normal man, seduced 
by an invert, practices mutual masturbation the affau- remains 
localized and limited to purely animal ^sensations of pleasure 
which do not irradiate to his psychic life; such irradiations only 
occur in the invert, so that his victims are always ready to 
abandon him without the least regret. If we except children, 
it therefore follows that the so-called male victims are nearly 
always blackmailers, or simply offer themselves for money. 

In fact, the normal man entirely separates the sympathy, or 
even the exalted affection, which he feels for another man, from 
all sexual sensations, and has not the least desire to kiss or 
caress his best friend, still less to have sexual intercourse with 
him. All sensual caresses between men are, therefore, sugges- 
tive of inversion, except in places where women are absent. 

In the normal woman on the contrary, as we have already 



254 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

mentioned, sentiments of exalted sympathy easily provoke the 
desire for kisses and caresses, and these caresses often cause in 
women a certain amount of vague sensual pleasure. When this 
pleasm'e leads to progressive tenderness and ends in mutual 
onanism, etc., it nevertheless remains intimately connected with 
psychic exaltations and sentiments of sympathy, from which it 
cannot be separated as in man. 

In a former chapter we have described the difference between 
the two sexes, but nowhere is it more distinctly shown than in 
the relations between a female invert and her victims. 

It is therefore much more difficult in woman than in man to 
distinguish in particular cases between the hereditary disposi- 
tion to inversion, and saphism acquired by seduction or habit. 
The latter is cormnon in prostitutes and libidinous women. , 

As we have already said, the pure female invert feels like a 
man. The idea of coitus with men is repugnant to her. She \ 
apes the habits, manners and clothes of men. Female inverts I 
have been known to wear men's uniforms and perform military 
service for years, and even behave as heroes; their sex some- 
times only being discovered after their death. 

Sexual Appetite for Children. (Pederosis.) — It may be ques- 
tioned whether this is a special category, for many sexual 
assaults committed on children are simply the effect of senile 
dementia, or abuse of children to satisfy an otherwise normal 
sexual appetite. I have, however, observed cases where chil- 
dren were so specially, or even exclusively, the object of the 
sexual appetite, that I cannot doubt the existence of a special 
hereditary perversion in this direction. 

No doubt, most of those who abuse children are also capable 
of coitus wdth women, or else they are inverts, sadists, etc. ; but 
with many of them sexual passion for children is so marked from 
their youth upward, that it shows a special hereditary disposi- 
tion. For this pathological disposition, thus defined, I propose 
the term pederosis; that of pederasty applying to anal coitus 
between man and man, whatever causes lead to it. Krafft- 
Ebing, who does not believe in the existence of a hereditary 
pederosis, gives the name erotic pedophilia to the abuse of 
children by depraved persons. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 255 

The following are cases of exclusive and hereditary pederosis: 
A talented artist, possessing high moral sentiments, was affected 
from his youth with a sexual appetite exclusively directed to- 
ward Httle girls of five or six years. At the age of twelve they 
ceased to attract him. He was quite indifferent to adults of 
both sexes, and never accomplished coitus. Having recognized 
in good time the anomaly of his appetite, he succeeded in mas- 
tering it all his life. At the most he sometimes allowed himself 
to caress httle girls without appearing to do so, by taking them 
on his knees and pressing them against his person, so as to pro- 
voke erection and ejaculation, without the child being aware of 
it. His moral sentiments and principles were always strong 
enough to prevent him going any further, and he masturbated to 
obtain relief. But this condition gave rise to increasing nei*vous 
irritation and melancholic depression. 

In another man, the sexual appetite, also perverted since its 
origin, was directed only toward boys of twelve or sixteen. At 
one time girls of the same age excited him, while he was quite 
indifferent toward adult women and men. 

In rare cases the sexual appetite of certain women is directed 
toward little boys. 

Sexual Appetite for Animals. (Sodomy or Bestiality.)* — A 
human sexual appetite exclusively directed toward animals is 
certainly not common. Coitus between man and animals 
usually takes place for want of the opportunity for normal satis- 
faction, or else as the result of satyriasis, nymphomania or 
desire for change. I have observed it especially in idiots and 
imbeciles who are ridiculed by girls. To console themselves, 
they give vent to their feelings wdth a patient cow or goat in 
:the silence of the stable: for this act they get several years 
imprisonment, for the law on this point is severe. Certain 
degraded libertines satisfy their hypersesthetic and perverted 
I appetites with goats or even with large birds or rabbits. 
I There are, however, cases where a pathological sexual appe- 
iitite is specially directed toward animals, and it is curious to 

j * Krafft-Ebing describes bestiality (connection with animals) and pede- 
'rasty under the general term of sodomy, but points out that the original 
'meaning of sodomy used in Genesis (Chapter XIX) signified pederasty, i.e., 
anal coitus between men. 



256 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

observe the frequent preference of certain individuals for small 
animals wliich they skin (fowls, geese, rabbits), and thus put 
•to death. 

Bestiality is not rare in women, who train dogs to copulate 
•^dth them or to lick their clitoris. If we put aside cases of 
torture inflicted on small animals, and if we avoid all prejudices, 
we can discover neither sin nor crime in bestiality. In fact, 
considered from the point of view of law and humanity, bes- 
tiality is one of the most innocent of all the pathological aber- 
rations of the sexual appetite. Human imagination only has 
marked it with the stigma of a moral bugbear and has made it 
a crime. When practiced with the larger animals it harms no 
one, not even the animal; in the second place, it cannot injure 
the product, because there is none; lastly, there is no question 
of venereal infection. At the most, sestheticism has reason for 
complaint, and more than one painter or sculptor has repre- 
sented the union of Leda with the Swan. It is certainly much 
better for society, for an idiot or an imbecile to copulate with 
a cow, than for him to make a gul pregnant and breed more 
idiots. 

In cases of this kind which I have kno^\Ti and which were 
brought to justice, I consider that the real sinner was not the 
poor sodomite, but his informer, or his judge who condemned 
the poor \\Tetch to many* years of imprisonment, thus making 
a martyr of him for no reason, and putting the ban of society 
upon him. It is needless to say that cases of sodomy compU- 
cated by cruelty or sadism, should be judged in quite another way. 

There are also other hereditary or constitutional perversions, 
more or less characteristic, of the sexual appetite, but we can- 
not enumerate all of them. We may mention, however, the 
erotic excitement which some men feel at the sight of statues 
of women, which urges them to masturbate against these; 
statues. 

i 
SEXUAL ANOMALIES IN THE INSANE AND IN PSYCHOPATHS ' 

AATien one is familiar with the population of a lunatic asylum, 
one is struck by a singular phenomenon, from the sexual point 
of view. A great number of insane women give exidence of, 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 257 

intense sexual desire. This desire is manifested in some by- 
incessant masturbation; in others by obscene conversation; in 
many others, by imaginary love, sometimes sensual, sometimes 
platonic; often by direct provocation to coitus addressed to 
the medical officers; but especially by perpetual scenes of 
jealousy, and often by reciprocal suspicions regarding then- 
sexual life. In fact, a lunatic asylum reveals to us, in the form 
of repulsive caricatures, all gradations and variations of a more 
or less degenerate feminine sexual Ufe, coquetry, wearing all 
kinds of ornaments, jealous anger, erotic excitement, etc. 

The sexual excitation of the insane often makes them soil 
themselves with urine and excrements, and heap insults on 
persons whom their diseased imagination suspects of sexual 
assaults or immodest acts toward themselves or others. They 
have a tendency to believe themselves betrothed or married to 
kings, emperors, Jesus Christ or God. Pregnancy and child- 
birth play a large part in their delirium. Some patients 
imagine themselves pregnant and pretend that they were fecun- 
dated secretly. Afterwards they believe that some one has 
taken away their child while they were asleep. 

One of my former patients once accused me of going to her 
bed at night and fecundating her every week. She also accused 
me of having hidden the hundreds of children which I was 
supposed to have procreated with her, and martyred them. 
Owing to these hallucinations she heard their cries day and night. 

Another patient, affected with curable acute mania, was so 
erotic during her attacks that she made advances toward all 
the doctors who visited her. Her mind was full of such erotic 
images that after her cure she was frightened of being pregnant, 
although she had passed the whole of her time of detention 
under supervision by female attendants. Women who in their 
normal state are most modest or sexually cold may be most 
erotic when they become insane, and may even behave as pros- 
titutes. This is especially observed in periodic hypomania. It 
is a well-known fact in the female divisions of lunatic asylums, 
that the doctors are always surrounded by erotic patients, who 
catch hold of their clothes and pinch them, and try and em- 
brace or scratch them according as they are amorous or jealous, 



258 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

SO that they often have trouble in escaping from these signs of 
violent love or furious jealousy. 

On the other hand, in the male divisions of asylums, one is 
astonished at the indifference and profound sexual apathy of 
nearly all insane men. Some practice masturbation and others 
attempt pederasty, but all with a philosophical calmness due to 
their dementia. Young women may even go among them with- 
out any fear of assaults or indecent language. It is only a few 
of the most violent who are exceptions to this rule. 

A young lady doctor, assistant medical officer to the asylum 
at Zmich, made her visits alone among all the males, even the 
most violent, without any inconvenience; while, in the female 
divisions, she was approached by the erotic patients as much 
as were the male assistants. I mention this fact because some 
people wrongly imagine that the sexual excitation of insane 
women is due to the visits of male doctors. These facts are very 
striking and furnish perhaps the best proof that the feminine 
sexual appetite is especially situated in the higher brain, while 
the masculine appetite is situated more in the lower cerebral 
centers, as we have shown above. Mental alienation is due to 
irritations of the higher brain, and this explains why in women 
it lets loose such violent sexual passions and images, and why 
there is so little of this in men. 

The sexual pathological symptoms of the insane are as fol- 
lows: 

(1). Erotomania (satyriasis and nymphomania), or abnormal 
exaltation of the sexual appetite. This is especially seen in 
acute mania, in the early stages of general paralysis and senile 
dementia, also temporarily or permanently in other psychoses. 
It is manifested by sexual excesses, obscene language or exces- 
sive masturbation. All these symptoms disappear after the 
attack of insanity. 

(2). Sexual anoesthesia or hypocesthesia or even impotence 
may occur in the later stages of general paralysis and senile 
dementia. At the commencement of general paralysis there 
is often violent sexual desire combined with more or less com- 
plete impotence. The same thing occurs, as we shall see, in 
alcoholism. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 259 

(3). Subjects affected with systematic delirium of persecution 
and grandeur (paranoia) sometimes commit atrocious sexual 
excesses, and often tyrannize and torment in a terrible way the 
women who are their victims. It is especially in the religious 
forms of this delirium, combined with fanatic ecstasy, that the 
most repulsive sexual orgies occur. I have treated a patient 
with paranoia who, full of pious sayings, regarded himself as a 
kind of prophet. He made a poor girl and her mother sleep in 
his room and had connection with them alternately. Finally, 
he mixed his semen in coffee with the girl's menstrual blood and 
made her drink the mixture, pretending that this was a religious 
ceremony intended to produce a strong race. In the end he set 
fire to the house of these poor women. 

Subjects affected with partial paranoia often turn the heads 
of susceptible women by the aid of ascetic religious phraseology, 
to gi'atify afterwards their sexual passions. The worst cases are 
those who are able to hide from the public their delirious ideas, 
and pass for normal individuals, misunderstood victims, or even 
saints. I have examined a very orthodox clergyman, highly 
esteemed by his congregation on account of his ascetic and 
enthusiastic preaching. In his own home he illtreated his wife, 
half strangled her, and exacted all kinds of sexual depra\dty. 
Unfortunately, the nature of his delirium was not very evident, 
and he dissimulated so well that the jurists would not admit his 
irresponsibility, in spite of my medical certificate. His wife was 
obliged to run away to escape from her martyrdom. The com- 
munity of property in force in this family completely ruined this 
unfortunate woman. The husband was not a hypocrite, but 
simply insane. Volumes could be written on sexual atrocities 
committed by such people. 

I will mention briefly the systematic delirium directed toward 
pathological love. This is a very common symptom in insane 
women who combine their amorous sentiments for man with 
the maddest ideas and hallucinations. An insane woman sud- 
denly discovers that the object of her love is a king or Jesus 
Christ, and that she is betrothed to him. In her delirium she 
imagines herself to be queen of the world. In her dreams and 
hallucinations her king or Christ is in bed with her and she 



260 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

imagines she has connection with him. Still under the influ- 
ence of hallucinations, she believes herself pregnant and carries 
an imaginary child for nine months in her womb. She may 
even imagine that she has given birth to a child, and that the 
child has been taken away from her by the aid of narcotics, as 
we have seen above. Although there is an infinite variety in 
the gradations, the pathological images of the cerebral sexual j 
sphere of insane women always revolve round this eternal theme. 

These pathological irradiations of the sexual sphere are asso- 
ciated voluntarily with jealous obsessions and ideas of persecu- 
tion, which make the subjects furious, and which are confirmed 
by their parsesthesias and hallucinations. Illusions of memory 
play a great part in these cases, for the subjects have often never 
felt what they complain of, and it is then a question of veritable 
hallucinational memor3^ We may here observe by the way 
that, even among healthy people, the sexual passions, like the 
others, always tend to falsify memory, making things appear in 
the exclusive sense of the affective state. Once fixed in the 
memory, such conceptions, the false tendency of which was 
originally based on passion, gradually assume the subjective 
character of certainty. Cool-headed people, or those whose 
affective state directs them to contrary conceptions, then see in 
such individuals a deliberate intention to misrepresent the facts. 
This is the reason why people so often hurl mutual insults at 
each others heads, calling each other liars and calumniators, 
owing to the affective illusion of memory. 

(4). One of the worst of the sexual anomalies in the insane 
is pathological jealousy, especially in men. Their wives then 
become martyrs, especially in cases of alcoholism and paranoia. 
It is not uncommon for assassination to put an end to their tor- 
ments. Among insane women, jealousy is certainly not less, 
but they have less legal power and less muscular strength. The 
most violent jealousy is found in alcoholics. 

Jealous delirium renders the subject furious; a word, a look, 
Or some trivial circumstance are enough for him to prove the 
mfidelity of his wife. The latter has to avoid the slightest thing 
which might arouse jealousy, but all in vain; reserve and even 
prudery are regarded by the jealous husband as hypocrisy. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 261 

The unfortunate man watches his wife, night and day, hke a 
watchdog: he threatens and insults her with no reason, and 
calumniates her in all ways, even in the presence of a third 
party. He even lays elaborate traps for her. Cases of this kind 
are legion. 

(5). It is necessary to say that the sexual parcesthesias, of which 
we have spoken, sadism, masochism, fetichism, inversion, etc., 
often occur in the insane. 

(6). The most atrocious sexual crimes are very often the work 
of idiots or imbeciles, but especially inoral idiots, i.e., persons 
whose idiocy is limited to the moral sense, who are also called 
simply amoral. This is due to hereditary taint, an innate absence 
of all sentiments of sympathy, pity and duty. Rape, viola- 
tion of children, sexual assassination, etc., are usually due to the 
concomitant action of moral idiocy and violent or perverted 
sexual passions. 

(7). Hypochondria also causes singular results in the sexual 
sphere. We have already dealt with the masturbation of cer- 
tain hypochondriacs, which is often wholly or partly imaginary. 
Others believe they have committed terrible sexual excesses, 
when nothing of the kind has occurred. I have seen a hypochon- 
driac married and strongly built, who believed his health was 
ruined because he cohabited with his wife once every two or 
three months. Other hypochondriacs become impotent simply 
because they think they are. Others again imagine they are 
affected with venereal disease, which they have never contracted. 

(8) . Hysterical men and women have a very peculiar sexuality. 
Hysteria depends on auto-suggestion or on an exalted and mor- 
bid dissociability of psychic activity. A single idea is sufficient 
in a hysterical subject, to produce the realization of what it rep- 
resents. The passionate imagination may lead to opinions and 
actions which are absolutely contradictory. Love and hatred 
often alternate by transformation. According to the influ- 
ences to which she is exposed, the same hysterical woman may 
become a good or evil genius. 

In the sexual domain the same extremes are produced in a 
very striking manner. Inflamed by love, a hysterical woman 
may exhibit phenomenal eroticism and the most violent sexual 



262 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

excesses, while indifference, disgust, or simply distraction by 
other ideas will render her absolutely frigid. Cold as ice toward 
other men, she may have insatiable sexual desire for the man 
she loves. 

The question is often raised whether a woman can love more 
than once in her life. There is no doubt that many women are 
so monogamous by instinct that they cannot love more than 
once; but it is also certain that a hysterical woman is capable of 
loving several times, and very different persons at different 
periods of her life. The personality of certain erotic hysterical 
women is even so dissociable that they can love with all their 
strength several men at the same time. But the hysterical 
woman is also capable of hating a man with as much ardor as 
she formerly loved him; or, on the contrary, of loving the one 
she formerly hated, according to the suggestion of the moment. 
The same phenomena occur in hysterical men. 

For the same reasons the quality of the sexual sensations and 
sentiments may vary in a hysterical subject according to the 
influences it is subjected to, and pass from the normal to the 
perverted state, or inversely. I have observed a case where a 
higlily cultured hysterical subject, in her early youth, fell in 
love with another young girl. At this period her sentiments 
were purely homosexual; her love for the young girl was clearl}'- 
inverted and accompanied by intense sexual desire, while she 
was absolutely indifferent to men. Later on, a man fell in love 
with her, and she yielded to him rather from pity and feminine 
passiveness than from love. Still later she fell passionately in 
love with another man, quite as much as she had been with the 
young girl of her early youth. Her latest love was both exalted 
and libidinous. Her sexual appetite had thus taken the normal 
du-ection under the influence of a hetero-sexual affection. 

In hysterical men analogous changes occur less easily, on 
account of the nature of masculine sexuality which distinguishes 
more clearly between the mind and the appetite; but these 
changes are observed sometimes. In woman, the hysterical im- 
agination and dissociation facilitate a polyandi'ous irradiation of 
the sexual appetite, which is otherwise rare in the female sex. 
In this respect the sexuality of hysterical women resembles that 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 263 

of men and differs from that of normal women. Hysterical men, 
on the other hand, become more feminine, not by their appetite 
being less polygamous, but by the more dissociated form of their 
thoughts and sentiments. 

(9). A variety of the pathological love of abnormal indi- 
viduals is imaginary love, not founded on delirious ideas. Cer- 
tain psychopaths of both sexes are convinced that they love 
some one, but they suddenly perceive during their betrothal, or 
even only after marriage, that they are mistaken and that they 
have never loved the person in question. Such illusions are the 
cause of numerous broken engagements, divorce and conjugal 
bitterness. 

(10). Amorous tyranny constitutes another variety in the 
pathology of love. Lovers of this kind constantly tyrannize 
and torment the object of their passion, by their desires, their 
observations, their sensitive temper, their contradictions, their 
exigencies and their jealousy. This atrocious manner of loving 
is common in both sexes; perhaps more so in women than men. 

(11). The love of psychopaths is a subject which has no end. 
If human society was better acquainted with psychopathology 
a great deal of conjugal misunderstanding and misery would be 
avoided. 

I have known a woman who would not allow her husband to 
shut himself in the water-closet, for fear he would take the 
servant with him! Another became madly jealous if a woman 
sat opposite her husband and cast the least glance at him; the 
unfortunate husl^and not knowing where to look, in the street 
or in hotels, so as to escape his wife's jealousy. It is still worse 
when the husband is jealous. 

Other psychopaths torment the object of their love by the 
perpetual care they take over imaginary dangers or the slightest 
indispositions. Others again are affected with hyper^esthesia, 
and the least noise, the slightest touch, or any sudden sensation, 
is enough to throw them into excitement and make them a 
nuisance both to themselves and to their surroundings. 

The pathological exaltation of sentiments, which causes the 
most trifling things to appear as deliberate offenses, and mali- 
cious intentions, is still more to be feared. The disproportion 



264 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

between love and sexual appetite also torments many psycho- 
paths, either when a deep love is combined with sexual indiffer- 
ence or disgust at coitus, or even pain (vaginismus, in women, 
for example); or when an intense sexual appetite is combined 
with want of love or ferocious egoism (especially in men). 

Certain psychopaths appear profoundly amorous but behave 
like brutes to the object of their love. These are the individuals 
who are always ready to strangle their sweetheart, to stab or 
shoot her, if she does not immediately yield to their desires; or 
else the feeble creatures who threaten to cormnit suicide if their 
love is not returned. 

Others, tormented by a pathological eroticism are continually 
annoying young and virtuous girls with their obsessions and 
their pathological grossness. I have seen a psychopath of this 
kind write letters and even post cards to a young girl, on which 
he had drawn pictures of the female genitals, by way of gal- 
lantry. In women, hatred and vengeance, aroused by jealousy, 
are especially blind and tenacious when the chronic passions of 
psychopathia intervene; this being due to the perseverance 
natural to the sex. By the aid of their refined intrigues; by 
their misrepresented statements due to the illusions of a memory 
distorted by passion, but uttered with a consummate dramatic 
art, some women may play a truly diabolical role, and even 
deceive a whole tribunal. When we get to the bottom of the 
matter, we often find that the primary cause of the evil is a 
sexual passion embellished and idealized afterwards by all kinds 
of noble motives, but in reality more or less unconsciously hypo- 
critical. While deceiving others, these psychopathic women also 
deceive themselves. There are also a number of male psycho- 
paths quite analogous to the above and generally hysterical. 

Other morbid symptoms, such as obsessions and pathological 
impulses, have a certain importance as regards sexual appetite 
and love. Love or rejection, as well as other sexual images, may 
become the objects of obsessions, and then cause the subjects 
much torment, but without harming their surroundings; for 
the obsessed generally remain passive. Pathological impulse to 
actions may, on the contrary, become dangerous and lead to 
violation, whether combined with perversion or not. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 265 

(12). We have seen that senile paradoxy often shows itself, as 
a symptom of senile dementia, by a sexual appetite for children. 
This is the initial symptom of the complaint, and may lead to 
the commission of assault. The holy indignation of the public, 
and often of ignorant judges, against these depraved old men 
often result in the public contempt or even the imprisonment 
of poor patients who have hitherto led a blameless hfe, and who 
have simply become victims of senile degeneration of the arteries 
of the brain. 

(13). I will mention another case which 1 have observed, 
which shows how complex hereditary cerebral pathology may 
become, and lead in turn to crime, madness and sexual per- 
version; giving rise to the most tragic scenes of human life, and 
to the degeneration of families. 

A very charming and intelligent, but deceitful man, an amoral 
person whose heredity was strongly tainted with mental disease, 
had strong sexual instincts partly inverted. He was attracted 
rather more by men than by women, but committed excesses with 
both sexes. He married a virtuous and intelligent midwife. At 
long intervals he had three attacks of acute mania, but was cured 
after each attack and procreated two boys and a girl. When he 
was sane he spent his time in deceitful occupations and specula- 
tion and never worked honestly to earn his living. He behaved 
well toward his wife, but this did not prevent him committing 
pederasty with men. He was often convicted for pederasty 
and swindling, and I treated him several times in an asylum. 
His poor wife complained bitterly, but found consolation 
in her husband's apparent love, but especially in the careful 
education of her children. But when the children grew up, her 
illusions disappeared one after another. The daughter became 
feeble-minded, and one of the sons became a bad character. The 
mother consoled herself with the second son who appeared hon- 
est and hard-working. The father was then in an asylum, his 
relapses having led the tribunal to institute an inquiry into his 
mental condition. One day the mother came to me in despair 
and showed me a letter written by the son of the father, which 
she had opened; the contents were as follows: " ^liserable father, 
when you receive this letter I shall be no longer in this world; 
but before dying I wish to curse you. You have been the disgrace 
of the family. You have caused misery to our mother and her 



266 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

children by your crimes. Why did you bring me into this world? 
For a long time I have felt evil instincts developing in me like a 
cursed heritage. I struggle in vain against them; but the more 
I struggle the more I feel I must succumb. I am incapable of 
resisting much longer; but I will not become a criminal like you, 
so I shall hang myself to-night, and I curse you again before 
doing it." 

The unfortunate son did in fact commit suicide, and drove his 
mother to despair. I showed the father his son's letter, but he 
only smiled and shrugged his shoulders. 

The following is another example: 

A man of 50, married, and the father of six children, ranging 
from 6 to 24 years of age, violated them all, both girls and boys. 
The whole family were abnormal and perverse. A son of 18 had 
sexual intercourse with his mother and sister. The father also 
had intercourse with dogs and cats. The jury before whom I 
brought the case regarded the man as mad, but he was con- 
demned to ten years' imprisonment. An asylum for dangerous 
and perverted lunatics is urgently required for such cases. 

EFFECTS OF NARCOTICS, ESPECIALLY ALCOHOL, ON THE 
SEXUAL APPETITE 

The functional cerebral paralyses produced by narcotics 
closely resemble in their psj^'chopathological physiognomy the 
organic paralyses which result from slow atrophy of the cerebral 
cortex, as in general paralysis — exaltation of sentiment, tremor 
and slowness of movement up to total paralysis, disorders of 
orientation in time and space, profound mental dissociation 
affecting the subconscious automatic actions. 

At the same time the individual loses the exact appreciation 
of his own personality and of the external world; he regards 
himself as very capable in body and mind while he is becoming 
more and more powerless; and everything appears rose-colored 
at the time when he is in a most critical state. He believes him- 
self possessed of great muscular strength when paralysis makes 
him stagger, and so on. 

At the commencement of narcosis the phenomena are some- 
what different from what they become later; a certain amount of 
excitement predominates, as well as the spirit of enterprise and 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 267 

exaltation of the appetites; while later on paralysis, relaxation 
and somnolence play the principal part. 

Narcosis acts in a similar way on the genetic sense. It begins 
by exciting sexual desire, but diminishes the power. As Shake- 
spere says: ''Lechery it provokes and unprovokes; it provokes 
the desire but it takes away the performance." (Macbeth, Act 
II, Scene iii.) No doubt the narcotics are not all equal in 
action, and each has its specific peculiarities; but the words of 
Shakespere express the essential effect of all narcotics on the 
sexual appetite: First of all excitation of the appetite with the 
disappearance of moral and intellectual inhibitory representa- 
tions, and reenforcement of the spirit of enterprise; afterwards, 
progressive paralysis of sexual power, and finally extinction of 
the initial appetite itself. 

These phenomena are of capital importance in alcoholic 
narcosis, which plays the principal part in civilized countries. 
The initial excitation is here very accentuated. If we make a 
closer examination, however, we find from the first a relaxation 
of sexual activity and a weakening of all sensory irritations. In 
coitus, erections are produced more slowly; the voluptuous sen- 
sations, it is true, are of great subjective intensity, but they are 
developed more slowly and there is more difficulty in producing 
ejaculation. The subsequent relaxation is very great, and a 
man who is even only slightly intoxicated cannot perform 
coitus as rapidly, nor repeat it so often, as when he has taken no 
alcoholic liquor. When the narcosis increases the impotence 
becomes complete. Owing to the illusion produced by the nar- 
cosis, however, a drunken man generally imagines himself to be 
very capable. 

The gross and clumsy form which flirtation assumes under the 
action of alcohol is only too well known. The gross and per- 
sistent obscenity of drunken persons in railway carriages and 
other places toward women is an example of alcoholic flirtation. 
{Vide Chapter IV,) 

Another peculiarity of the sexual appetite in alcoholic narcosis 
is its bestiality. The higher irradiations of love are completely 
paralyzed and sensuality becomes unrestrained, even in men 
who, when sober, are full of refined sentiments. 



268 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

The depraving effect of alcohol on the sexual appetite is 
therefore unlimited. Alcohol does not limit itself to giving 
free play to a bestial appetite, by paralyzing reason and senti- 
ments of sympathy and duty; it also has a strong tendency to 
pervert the appetite itself. In a considerable proportion of 
cases of exhibitionism, inversion, pederosis, sodomy, etc., the 
development of the perversion is greatly favored, or even directly 
produced, by the action of alcohol, especially when there is a 
latent predisposition. I have observed a whole series of per- 
versions in persons whose sexual appetite was normal when they 
were sober, but became perverted on the slightest intoxication. 
I am convinced that if more attention was paid to the subject 
the number of cases in which alcohol increases the perversion, 
or is even necessary for its development, would be increased. 

But what is of much greater importance is the fact that acute 
and chronic alcoholic intoxication deteriorates the germinal pro- 
toplasm of the procreators. I refer the reader to what I have 
said at the end of Chapter I on blastophthoria. The recent 
researches of Bezzola seem to prove that the old belief in the - 
bad quality of children conceived during drunkenness is not 
without foundation. Relying on the Swiss census of 1900, in 
which there figure nine thousand idiots, and after careful exami- 
nation of the bulletins concerning them, this author has proved 
that there are two acute annual maximum periods- for the con- 
ception of idiots (calculated from nine months before birth) ; 
the periods of carnival and vintage, when the people drink most. 
In the wine-growing districts the maximum conception of idiots 
at the time of vintage is enormous, while it is almost nil at other 
periods. Moreover, these two maximum periods come at the 
time of year when conception is at a minimum among the rest 
of the population; the maximum of normal conceptions occur- 
ring at the beginning of summer. 

If these facts are confirmed b}'' further research, we may con- 
clude that even acute alcoholism has a blastophthoric action. 
We may, therefore, assume that when a germinal cell leaves its 
gland at the moment when it is impregnated with alcohol, and 
achieves conjugation, it is unable to return to its normal condi- 
tion, for want of opportunity to be completely and promptly 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 269 

cleansed by nutrition and the circulation. This explains how it 
may transmit to the individual which develops from it all 
kinds of taints and defects. 

After what we have said, we can tabulate the destructive 
effects of the narcotic poisons and alcohol in particular, in the 
sexual domain, both from the individual and social points of 
view, as follows: 

(1). Irreflective sexual unions, resulting from exaltation of 
the sexual appetite and temporary paralysis of the senti- 
ments which inhibit such unions in persons who are not 
under the influence of alcohol. These include the seduction 
of girls, orgies with prostitutes in brothels, and the procrea- 
tion of children with low-class women, or under unfavorable 
conditions. 

(2). Increase of venereal disease. I have made statistics 
which show that about 75 per cent, of venereal disease is con- 
tracted by men under the influence of alcohol, chiefly by per- 
sons who are slightly intoxicated and rendered enterprising 
thereby. 

(3). All kinds of misfortunes and catastrophes, such as 
illegitimate pregnancies, despair, suicide, etc., resulting from 
irreflective sexual unions and venereal disease. 

(4). The production of the majority of sexual crimes also 
resulting from the exasperation of eroticism combined with 
irreflection and general motor impulsiveness. Jealousy here plays 
a gi-eat part. The most important statistics (for example, 
those of Baer, in Germany), prove that from 50 to 75 per cent, 
of criminal assaults are committed under the influence of alco- 
hol. Indecent exposure, etc., is due to alcohol in 75 or 80 per 
cent. 

(5). Exaltation and sometimes development of sexual per- 
version. 

(6). Creation of hereditary alcoholic blastophthoria, either as 
the result of a single drinking bout, or from habitual drunken- 
ness. The offspring tainted with alcoholic blastophthoria suffer 
from various bodily and physical anomalies, among which are 
dwarfism, rickets, a predisposition to tuberculosis and epilepsy, 
moral idiocy and idiocy in general, a disposition to crime and 



270 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

mental diseases, sexual perversions, loss of suckling in women, 
and many other misfortunes. 

(7). The delu'ium of jealousy is a specific symptom of chronic 
alcoholism. Its effects are terrible and lead to all kinds of sorts 
of infamies, assaults and even assassination. 

(8) . Alcohol is also the almost indispensable vehicle of prosti- 
tution and proxenetism, which could not be maintained without 
it, at any rate in their present disgusting and brutal form. 

(9). The coarseness and vulgarity of alcoholic eroticism pro- 
duce in public places, as well as in private, an importunate 
and obscene form of flirtation, which is brutally and cynically 
opposed to all sentiments of propriety and modesty. 

The above statements refer chiefly to men. Among women, 
alcoholism is less common, at least in continental Europe; in 
En'gland, however, drunken women are often seen in the 
streets. Among prostitutes, however, alcoholism is almost 
universal. Proxenetism makes use of alcohol to compromise 
and seduce girls and thus lead them to prostitution. When they 
have once fallen they often drink to forget the horror of their 
situation. 

The action of alcohol on the feminine sexual appetite is very 
peculiar. The appetite is generally exalted, while the power is 
not affected, owing to the passive role of woman in coitus. At 
first, paralysis of the psychic inhibitions and their higher irra- 
diations (love, duty, modesty, etc.) by alcohol deprives the 
woman of nearly all power of resistance against the sexual de- 
sire of the man. It results from this that an intoxicated woman 
becomes the easy prey of a man whose sexual appetite is excited. 
The following case is instructive from this point of view: 

A young girl of good position married a man of weak and vulgar 
character. Both were rather fond of drink. When she became 
pregnant the wife took large quantities of wine, by the doctor's 
orders, and this led her to inebriety. The friends and acquaint- 
ances of the husband found this amusing, and began to flirt with 
her to such an extent that she fell a victim to their sexual appe- 
tites, in her continual state of semi-intoxication. The husband 
at first had not the courage to put an end to this and did not wish 
to divorce her, for pecuniary reasons; for the wife had the money. 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 271 

He finally decided to send her to an asylum which I superintended, 
to cure her alcoholism. 

From the antecedents of the patient, I expected to see a cynical 
and erotic woman; but she was nothing of the kind. Although 
hardly sober, this woman was modest and well-behaved. What 
struck me most was her extreme of modesty, which at first made 
it difficult for me to investigate her psychological state. Her con- 
duct was exemplary the whole time, and she eventually confided 
to me that it was not so much sexual desire as the profound indif- 
ference and feebleness developed by inebriety which had caused 
her to give way. Before leaving the asylum she joined a total 
abstinence society, returned to her husband and succeeded in 
converting him also to total abstinence. She kept to her pledge 
and lived afterwards in conjugal peace and happiness, without 
ever relapsing into her old infidelity. I saw her several years 
afterwards with her husband, happy and flourishing. 

I have mentioned this case to show that, even in women, 
sexual excess does not necessarily destroy the character, the 
sentiments of modesty, nor the will. It all depends on their 
cause. If there is congenital weakness of character, the evil is 
irreparable; but if it is only due to external forces which can be 
eliminated in time, its effect may often be permanently sup- 
pressed. Some female inebriates are sexually cold and repulse 
men; but others are erotic and even nymphomaniacs. 

Whosoever has the welfare of humanity at heart, and takes 
the trouble to reflect on the ravages caused by alcohol in human 
society, should have the courage to make a slight effort and 
renounce all alcoholic drink — say for six months at first, as an 
experiment — in order to combat the social alcoholic misery by 
force of example, instead of empty phrases. He will then 
discover, like all abstainers, that the usage of alcohol (includ- 
ing wine, cider and beer) however small the quantity con- 
sumed, only serves to maintain a habit which is vicious and 
disastrous to society, by giving the contagious example of so- 
called moderation, to which a great number of persons cannot 
restrict themselves. He will then abstain for the rest of his days, 
and it will become more and more incomprehensible to him how 
humanity has been led, first by the spirit of imitation, later by 



272 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

the conservation of prejudices, to develop, maintain and defend 
such a social abuse by the aid of a legion of sophisms. 



SEXUAL ANOMALIES AND PERVERSIONS BY SUGGESTION 
AND AUTO-SUGGESTION 

The role of the phenomena of suggestion in sexual life is much 
greater than is generally supposed. I shall retm-n to this sub- 
ject in a special chapter, but I may state here that there is a 
category of sexual perversions and anomalies of all kinds which 
are not hereditary but acquired, and which Krafft-Ebing, 
although he cites striking examples, -^Tongly attributes to the 
effect of sexual excess and depravity, or which he compares to 
ordinary psychopathia, while in reality they are only the dh-ect 
effect of strong suggestion or auto-suggestion. 

I place in this category the cases where a man, whose sexuality 
has hitherto been normal, suddenly becomes pathological as the 
result of some circumstance which produces on him a profound 
impression. For instance, the sexual appetite of an individual 
may be strongly excited, in a brothel or elsewhere, by an erotic 
woman whose feet or shoes are especially elegant. The sight 
of this well-fitted foot exalts his sexual desire to a high degi'ee. 
From this moment feminine shoes, by subjective association, 
exercise on him an irresistible erotic power, which dominates 
everything else and transforms him into a fetichist; the female 
body no longer elicits his appetite, the latter having become 
the slave of the image of shoes only. (Shoe fetichism.) 

Sexual inversion may also be acquired by suggestion, when a 
normal man becomes excited by acts of masturbation or ped- 
erasty, or simply by some psychic image with a strongly sug- 
gestive action. He may thus lose his normal sexual appetite 
for women and become homosexual. 

These phenomena occur especially in individuals whose sug- 
gestibility is pathological or hysterical, or even simply exagger- 
ated. But these individuals are numerous, and this fact gives 
us the explanation of a large proportion of acquired sexual 
anomahes, at the same time indicating the means of curing 
them. In such cases, it is not a question of moral depravity, 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 273 

nor necessarily of a latent hereditary predisposition, but simply 
of a single sudden suggestive action, sometimes repeated. 

Among other cases, I may mention that of a well-educated 
man of very refined sentiments, deeply in love with his wife, 
but very suggestible, who became suddenly impotent and homo- 
sexual as the result of a simple idea-image which became fixed 
in his mind and subjected it by suggestion. His strong charac- 
ter enabled him to resist intercourse with males, but he fell 
into despair and became very unhappy. I am convinced that 
a careful study would reveal an increasing number of cases of 
psychopathia acquired by suggestion or auto-suggestion. 

Cases of this kind may be spontaneously cured. Treatment 
by suggestion is indicated and may act directly or indirectly. 
Everything which is of a functional psychic nature may occur 
by suggestion, or be, on the contrary, eradicated by suggestion. 
The important point is to emphasize the fact that whenever a 
man, hitherto normal, is affected, without apparent cause, with 
a more or less sudden sexual anomaly, and which is consequently 
not the effect of long habit, suggestion or auto-suggestion should 
be borne in mind. 

These two conceptions can, moreover, be hardly distinguished, 
for the things which cause suggestion are usually the sensory 
perceptions of sight, smell, touch and hearing, associated with 
certain situations, or with an intense affective state which fixes 
them in the brain. Sometimes it is a question of simple imagi- 
native ideas. The cases where a hypnotizer intentionally sug- 
gests sexual perversion proflably exist only in theory. We are, 
therefore, concerned with fortuitous suggestions, acting through 
persons, situations, objects or ideas, which excite the mind 
by the impression they produce on the sentiments and the 
sexual appetite. 

SEXUAL PERVERSIONS DUE TO HABIT 

Without being congenital and without depending on a special 
predisposition, all the perversions of the sexual appetite that we 
have just described may be acquired, by means of the artificial 
and continued excitation of a sexual appetite which seeks satis- 
faction in change and unusual situations. Moreover, perverse 



274 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

satisfaction of the sexual appetite is often resorted to — onanism, 
pederasty or oral coitus — either to avoid conception, or with 
the idea of escaping venereal disease, or in the case of 
onanism, to avoid publicity, trouble or expense. As we have 
seen above alcohol favors the development of sexual perversions. 

It is evident that a commerce in women systematically toler- 
ated by the state, as is the proxenetism of regulated prostitution, 
employs all means imaginable to attract and excite its clients. 
In this way prostitution becomes the high-school for all the 
refinements of sexual perversion. It not only offers special 
objects required by individuals tainted by heredity with various 
perversions, but it artificially develops perverse habits in the 
normal man. The manipulations of sadism or masochism are 
even utilized to revive a sexual appetite weakened by abuse. 
Individuals who have become impotent often try to excite them- 
selves by observing the coitus of others. In fact a leaven of 
corruption and ignominy ferments on the dunghill of venal and 
artificial excitation of the sexual appetite. 

The apostles of Mammon and Bacchus, the former by interest, 
the latter by the aid of a narcosis which paralyzes the higher 
sentiments and reflection, work in concert to maintain this foul 
swamp. The same individuals very commonly combine the 
two apostleships and become themselves the victims of their 
false gods, after sacrificing hundreds of their fellows. 

To make matters more clear I will recapitulate as follows: 

(1). We often meet with pederasty without a trace of inver- 
sion of the sexual appetite. It is also practiced on women by 
introducing the penis into the rectum. But the normal man 
hardly ever prefers it to normal coitus. 

(2). Compensatory masturbation is very common and ceases 
with the opportunity for normal coitus. 

(3). Sodomy is also often compensatory. 

(4). It is the same with assaults on children, which seldom 
depend on a hereditary disposition. 

(5). Lesbian love, coitus by the mouth, artificial excitation 
of the clitoris by the tongue or otherwise, may have quite a 
different origin than from sexual inversion or other perversions. 

All these things take place chiefly in brothels or with prosti- 



SEXUAL PATHOLOGY 275 

tutes, in barracks, boarding-schools, convents, and other isolated 
places where men and women live alone and separated from the 
other sex. 

Sadism, masochism, fetichism and exhibitionism are much 
more rarely the result of habits, because their object and the 
images with which they are associated do not offer compensa- 
tion for the normal excitation of the sexual appetite, or only do 
so insufficiently. 

I am here obliged to contradict Krafft-Ebing, who regards 
exhibitionism as the effect of the impotence of certain individuals 
depraved by excesses, or as the unconscious act of certain 
epileptics. No doubt the two conditions which he mentions 
may present themselves, but the exhibitionists I have observed 
have all been psychopaths whose perversion was primordial and 
hereditary, with the exception of some females in whom per- 
version originated in suggestion or alcoholism, which had at 
any rate aroused the disposition. 

Lesbian love merits special mention. Owing to the clitoris 
being more or less concealed, women are often not satisfied by 
coitus, especially when the ejaculation of the male takes place 
too quickly. Consequently a number of normal women prefer 
to procure an orgasm by means of lesbian love (cunnilingus.) 
There are clubs of female perverts, many of whom are not homo- 
sexual by heredity. 

Although they differ from hereditary perversions, acquired 
perversions are connected with the former by a series of latent 
hereditary dispositions, more or less marked, and often difficult 
to distinguish in particular cases, especially when suggestion is 
blended with them. 

Among the entirely hereditary and congenital sexual per- 
versions, many occur in individuals who are well conducted and 
often possessed of delicate and altruistic sentiments. This point 
is not sufficiently recognized. Such persons are nearly always 
more or less neurotic in other respects. They are disheartened 
by their perversion and are so much ashamed of it that they 
often prefer to carry their secret to the grave rather than con- 
fide it to their doctor. 

Others sometimes confess to a doctor, and the life of a martyr, 



276 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

who is always contemplating suicide, is revealed to him. Indi- 
viduals of feeble, cynical, egoistic or abnormal natures, whose 
number is legion in the corrupt centers of modern civilization, 
yield to their perversion and often come before the tribunals, 
or else become objects of public contempt. As it is this class 
which generally become known, it is assumed by too hasty gen- 
eralization that sexual perverts are necessarily cynical, vicious 
or weak-minded individuals; but this induction is false. It is 
unfortunately impossible to estimate the number of sexual per- 
versions dissimulated by a large number of pessimists of both 
sexes, generally celibate and usually males. 

I do not pretend that, w^hen sexual perversion is neither 
hereditary nor favored by a latent hereditary predisposition, 
nor developed or fixed by alcoholism, it is usually possible to 
cm'e it by suggestion. This often acts even in cases where 
alcohol has aroused a hereditary taint. The incorrigible 
recidivists among the sexual perverts are, I am convinced, either 
hereditaiy or strongly predisposed, or degenerated by alco- 
hoHsm. The original will power of the pervert is also of great 
miportance. Weak-willed perverts always tend to relapse. 

The social sanitation of sexual intercom-se would certainly 
reduce to a minimum the compensatory perversions of normal 
persons who abstain from alcohol. The prohibition of alcoholic 
drink would definitely eliminate not only the perversions di- 
rectly due to alcohol, but gradually also those due to alcoholic 
blastophthoria in the descendants. Other hereditary perversions, 
not of alcohohc origin, can only be definitely eliminated by 
healthy selection. 

Per\^ersions acquired by suggestion or auto-suggestion should 
be combated by suppression of the depraved examples which 
cause them, as well as by treatment by suggestion. It is need- 
less to say that sexual perverts should always abstain from 
alcoholic drinks. 



CHAPTER IX 

SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE — AMOROUS INTOXICATION 

Suggestion. Cerebral Activity. Consciousness. Subcon- 
sciousness and Amnesia. Auto-suggestion. — The explanation 
of the phenomena of hypnotism and suggestion by Liebeault 
and Bernheim has been a veritable scientific revelation for hu- 
man psychology. Unfortunately it has remained to a great 
extent unknown to the public and the majority of medical men 
and jurists. Even at the present day, this subject is regarded 
either in the light of magic and occult phenomena, or as being 
connected with imposture and charlatanism. This results from 
the incapacity of most men to think in a psychological and philo- 
sophical manner, to observe for themselves and to take into 
account the connection which exists between the mind and 
cerebral activity. 

I must point out the common error of many physicians, who 
do not understand the psychological nature of hypnotism, and 
who place it, like Dubois, in antinomy with psychotherapy. 
Hypnotism and suggestion in the waking state are one and the 
same thing; but what the physicians I have mentioned under- 
stand by suggestion in the waking state — psychotherapy, 
action by will power, etc. — is only a chaos of misapplied terms 
and psychological phenomena, only half understood by them. 
Sleep by suggestion is only one of the phenomena of suggestion. 

I must refer the reader to Bernheim's book on "La Suggestion 
et ses Applications h la Therapeutique," and to my book on 
hypnotism {" Der Hypnotismus und die Suggestive Psycho- 
therapie." Stuttgart, 1902), for I cannot enter into the details 
here. I will, however, attempt to make clear the action of 
suggestion in order to explain its connection with the sexual 
sensations and sentiments. 

277 



278 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Suggestion consists in the action of ideas or representations 
on the activity of the brain in general, and on some of its activi- 
ties in particular. The terms idea-force and ideoplasty have been 
employed; but all ideas are at the same time forces and are 
more or less ideoplastic according to the nature and intensity of 
the cerebral acti\aty which corresponds to them. Eveiy repre- 
sentation which appears in our consciousness is at the same 
time a cerebral activity. I will explain by the aid of an example 
the relation which exists between the play of our conscious 
ideas and what is incorrectly called our unconscious cerebral 
activity. 

For reasons which are too long to explain here, I call suh- 
conscious all which is usually called unconscious, because I 
maintain that there is probably nothing unconscious in oiu* 
nervous activity, and that what appears to be so is in reality 
accompanied by an introspection, subordinated like its corre- 
sponding activity to the great and clear introspection of the 
higher brain, which accompanies the concentrated and mobile 
activity of what we call our attention in the waking state. No 
doubt, we do not as a rule perceive our subconscious activities, 
for want of sufficient intensity in their association with the 
series of aperceptions (states subsequent to attentional activity). 
But we possess a number of observations, due especially to hj'p- 
notism, which allow us to infer by analogy the existence of sub- 
ordinated introspections corresponding to the cerebral activities 
which appear to us unconscious. 

For example, I think of my vnie. This idea immediately 
calls to mind that of a journey that I intend to take with her, 
and in its tm'n the idea of the journey recalls that of the trimk 
I shall use to pack my effects. Almost as rapidly as lightning, 
the three ideas: (1) my wife; (2) the journey; (3) the trunk, 
apparently succeed each other in my consciousness. But, ac- 
cording to the old scholasticism, the idea of the journey is 
awakened by that of my wife, and that of my trunk by that of 
the journey, which would, therefore, be its "cause." But a 
little observation soon shows that the succession of our con- 
scious ideas is not so easUy explained, for at eveiy moment rep- 
resentations appear which have no logical relation to those 



SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 279 

which precede them, and cannot be caused by them, nor by 
immediate sensory perceptions coming from without. 

At a time when the activity of the brain was not understood, 
the existence of an essential mind and a free will were assumed 
independent of the law of the conservation of energy and of the 
law of causality, independent therefore of the brain, the activity 
of which they commanded more or less at their pleasure. This 
conception is based on ignorance of the facts. 

Let us return to our example: why does the idea of my wife 
call to mind that of the journey? It might quite as well suggest 
others. In reality, a number of ideas, or subconscious cerebral 
activities, act at the same time as that of my wife to give rise 
to the idea of the journey. This journey had already been 
decided on before thinking of it at the moment in question, 
and the resolution that I had taken to make it had left in my 
brain latent impressions (engrams) which slumbered there; such 
as those of the date of departure, the duration of the journey, 
its termination, precautions to be taken for the house during 
our absence, things to take with us, expenses, etc., etc. During 
the infinitely short time when the idea of journey appears 
in my consciousness, between that of my wife and that of my 
trunk, I have no consciousness of all these things. They are, 
however, closely associated with the idea of journey, and in 
connection with it by the thousand threads of a subconscious 
and latent cerebral force which takes place in my cerebral nerve- 
elements (neurones) ; and it is their hidden action which awak- 
ens the idea of journey and directs my attention to it, at the 
same time weakening by their divers interferences the intensity 
of other associated engrams; in particular that of the sentiment 
of traveling, and thereby preventing a series of ideo-motor 
sensations relating to departure from becoming predominant. 

What suddenly appears in my consciousness is the verbal 
representation symbolized by the word journey; a general rep- 
resentation of synthetic nature, and consequently nebulous. It 
is the words of language only which allow me to synthetize a 
general idea in a short and definite form. Thus, the cerebral 
flash journey which follows the idea of my wife is not caused 
by the latter idea alone; it has been mainly drawn from its 



280 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

obscurity and brought before the mobile conscious attention, by 
the action of the thousand subconscious threads, some of which 
we have just mentioned, and which have at the same time 
determined its quaUty. 

Without my being aware of it, these dynamic thi*eads, or 
latent engrams, have to a great extent determined the kind of 
idea which will follow that of journey, and which will seem to 
me to be caused by this last alone, namely the idea of trunk. 
The idea of journey might equally well have awakened other 
images, such as those of the acquaintances whom I should meet, 
or of the to^^^l I intended to visit. Why that of the trunk? 
This is simply because the care of the effects to be taken, the 
place they should occupy, etc., revolved unconsciously but 
strongly in my brain, and for the moment predominated over 
other subconscious associations. 

This simple example shows us that in reality the three suc- 
cessive ideas, wife, journey, trunk, are more under the influence of 
sentiments, representations and former voUtions in a latent and 
subconscious state, than dependent on each other. But these 
latter activities are themselves the product of other antece- 
dent activities of my brain, extraordinarily diverse and com- 
plex. I will attempt to make things a little more complete and 
comprehensible by the aid of a comparison. 

A man finds himself in the middle of a compact and moving 
crowd. He cries out to attract the attention of the crowd. His 
voice is heard by those immediately around him, but is lost on 
the moving mass. Against his will he is carried away by the 
crowd in the direction of the strongest movement. But if the 
crowd is immobile and tranquil the same man may make himself 
heard, and may even force his way through the crowd and impel 
it in his turn by the impression that his words have made on it. 

Something analogous to this occurs in the action of an idea 
according as it is produced in a brain which is awake, active and 
strongly associated, or on the contrary in a brain which rests 
and sleeps. The brain which is active and strongly associated 
resembles the agitated crowd which carries away everything by 
its activity. In this case a single idea, like a single man, cries 
out in vain, i.e., is produced strongly; it will not impel, but will 



SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 281 

be carried away or stifled, unless it already possesses, by the 
former remembrances (engrams) which it may revive, a par- 
ticular power over the brain. It is the same with the agitated 
crowd; if the man who cries out is aheady known and has 
influence and power, he may arrest it and even bring it toward 
the center of his agitation. The brain which is at rest or sleep- 
ing, i.e., feebly associated and not active, resembles the immobile 
crowd. Even when it is new and has not yet become fixed in 
the memory, an idea may produce a deep impression, and 
awaken activities in its own direction. I repeat, if this idea 
has already acted more or less powerfully on the cerebral activ- 
ity that it has often carried with it, it has accustomed this to 
follow it {i.e., fortified the engrams and facilitated their ecpho- 
ria), and then the powerful associated engrams which it has left 
in the organ of thought, will often be capable of carrying every- 
thing with them, even to the center of the agitation. 

In this way I succeeded in suddenly calming by hypnotism a 
woman who was mad with despair over the tragic death of half 
her family in a fire, by the simple fact that I had often hypno- 
tized her previously. Immediately after the hypnosis she went 
away quietly to the place of the disaster and was the only one to 
keep her presence of mind and put things in order. 

I refer the reader to what has been said concerning the mneme 
(Chapter I). Semon's theory throws light on these questions. 

The first thing necessary for suggestion or hypnotism is to put 
the brain of the subject in a state of relative repose, so as to 
prepare a soil ready to receive suggestions. These are then 
made so as to always increase the cerebral repose, in order to 
weaken the action of the threads of subconscious association of 
which we have spoken above. Lastly, the suggestion (or idea 
which symbolizes the effect it is desired to obtain) is accentuated 
as much as possible, and in a form which at once excludes all 
contradiction. For this purpose everything should be utilized 
— sentiments and associations which are easily introduced, 
agreeable or repulsive sensations, volitions, etc. Nothing para- 
lyzes a suggestive effect so much as emotions, violent sentiments 
in general, inclinations, or repulsions which act in the opposite 
direction, whether they arise from fear, despair, hatred, sadness. 



282 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

joy, love or any kind of affective conditions. The same brain, 
accessible to all kinds of suggestions, will repress some of them 
as soon as it feels a deep sympathy for their contrary. We may 
suggest in vain to an amorous woman, the hatred or disgust of 
her lover, for the sentiment of love is stronger than the effect of 
a strange suggestion, and every suggestion which opposes the 
strongest aspirations of sentiment provokes mistrust and repul- 
sion, which in their turn destroy all suggestive power. 

As we have indicated in our comparison, every suggestion 
which has succeeded leaves a strong trace, or engi-am, in the 
brain. It has opened a way by breaking down a barrier or a 
chasm, and its effect, which appeared hitherto difficult or im- 
possible to realize, will henceforth be much more easy to obtain. 
This is why considerable cerebral repose is often necessary at 
first to open a way for a suggestion, while later on its effect can 
often be obtained even during the agitation of cerebral activ- 
ity strongly associated with or even led by violent momentary 
sentiments. 

The chief characteristic of suggestive action, is that it trav- 
erses the paths of subconscious activity, so that its effect occurs 
unexpectedly in our consciousness. 

For example, I suggest to a man that his forehead itches. As 
soon as he feels it he is surprised, being unable to understand 
how my prophecy has been transformed into real itching. He 
then believes in my power over his nervous system, i.e., that his 
brain becomes more receptive to my words, and offers less 
resistance after having proved the value of my predictions. It 
matters httle whether these are directed toward sensations or 
movements, or vaso-motor actions causing blushing and blanch- 
ing, or suppression or bringing on of menstruation (in the case 
of a woman), etc. My influence over him by suggestion will in- 
crease; i.e., his brain will accustom itself to the suggestions 
which I give it by letting them dissociate its activity. This ten- 
dency to be influenced by suggestion is very contagious by 
example. When A influences B successfully, and C, D, E, F 
and G are witnesses of the fact, they will be much more easily 
influenced by A in the same direction; and so on. This explains 
suggestion affecting the masses. 



p 



SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 283 

It is quite indifferent whether the subjective sentiment of 
sleep occurs more or less in the state of hypnosis or suggestion. 
This sentiment depends chiefly on the presence or absence of a 
variable degree of amnesia (want of memory to awaken). But 
amnesia only depends on the rupture, often fortuitous and 
unimportant, of the chain of remembrances in the series of 
super-conscious or attentional states of cerebral activity. 

In somnambuhsts, who are the most suggestible people, we 
can produce or suppress amnesia at will by a single word, and 
make them forget or remember what has passed. I must dwell 
on this point, because of the current dogma which assumes an 
essential difference between hypnotism and suggestion in the 
waking state. Such an assumption is based on false conception 
of the psychology of suggestion. The only difference consists 
in the suggestion of amnesia, or the subjective sentiment of 
sleep; or, if one prefers it, the subjective remembrance of sleep 
opposed to the remembrance of having been awakened. But 
these two remembrances may be voluntarily connected with the 
same past state of the brain. 

By auto-suggestion is meant the suggestive action of sponta- 
neous ideas — that is to say, ideas which are not suggested to the 
subject by any other person, but the effect of which is identical 
to that of external suggestions. An idea, a sentiment, domi- 
nates the mind, overcomes all its antagonists and produces a 
strong suggestive effect on the whole nervous system in the 
direction which it symbolizes. The idea of being unable to sleep 
often produces insomnia; the idea of sexual impotence may at 
once inhibit erection and render coitus impossible. The idea 
of yawning makes one yawn; that of coitus provokes erections; 
the idea of shame causes blushing; that of fear blanching; that 
of pity weeping. 

But it often happens unconsciously, in yawning for example, 
that one man suggests it to another who begins to yawn; or the 
sight of certain objects, the hearing of certain sounds, provokes 
suggestions. Thus the sight of an object belonging to a cer- 
tain woman may cause an erection; the odor of some article of 
diet which has caused indigestion is sufficient to cause nausea, 
etc. We thus see that there is a series of transitions between 



284 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

external intentional suggestion and auto-suggestion, in the 
form of suggestion of objects and unconscious or involuntary 
suggestion of persons. The conception of true or intentional 
suggestion infers the determined will of one man influencing 
another by suggestion; there is no other criterion. 

It is quite another question whether the one who suggests 
wishes to benefit his subject, or wishes on the contrary to abuse 
him or make him ridiculous. 

Sympathy. Love and Suggestion. — It is of great importance 
for us to know that sympathy and confidence are the funda- 
mental elements of success in suggestive action. Even when 
deceived by the one who hypnotizes him, the subject may yield 
to him while he is not aware of it. But there is here a point to 
be noted. A man may very well see clearly with his reason and 
his logic, he may understand that harm is done to him, he may 
even curse a thing or a person when he reflects, and in spite of 
this be instinctively and subconsciously attracted toward this 
thing or this person, like a moth to a candle, when certain sen- 
timents of sympathy or attraction urge him to it. The two 
following examples will make this more clear: 

(1). An actor fell in love with a hysterical married woman. 
This woman was very polyandrous, and deceived not only her 
husband but the actor and many others. The actor tried with 
all the power of his reason to be delivered from the tyrannical 
charm of this siren; but the power of attraction of the woman 
was so strong that he could not succeed in resisting her. He 
came to me in despair and begged me to rid him of his passion by 
hypnotism. I realized the difficulty of the situation but did my 
best to help him. Although aided by his reason, all my sugges- 
tions were overcome by the violence of the passion that his hys- 
terical seducer had inspired in him, and I obtained absolutely no 
result. 

(2). A well-educated, unmarried woman became so enamored 
of a young man, that she was consumed with passion, grew thin, 
and lost her appetite and sleep. Having exchanged ideas with 
the young man for some time, she became convinced that their 
two characters were not suited to each other, and that incom- 
patibility of temper and quarrels would necessarily follow mar- 
riage. She therefore resisted with all her power and came to me 



SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 285 

to be cured of her passion by suggestion. My failure in the 
preceding case increased my skepticism, but I did my best to 
succeed; the result, however, was no better than with the actor 
in the preceding case. Time and separation alone gradually 
restored equilibrium in this lady's nervous system. 

These two cases are very instructive. Suggestion can only 
successfully combat powerful sentiments by arousing other sen- 
timents of sympathy which increase little by little and finally 
become substituted for the preceding ones. This brings us to 
a very difficult question. 

In order to influence other persons by suggestion, it is above 
all things necessary to try and associate the ideas which we sug- 
gest to them with sentiments of sympathy, so as to arouse in 
them the impression that the object to be attained is desirable 
and agreeable, or at any rate that it constitutes a necessity. 
The woman who surrenders to the mercy of her conqueror often 
experiences a kind of pleasure which is associated with the 
passiveness of her sexual sentiments. It is the same in the male 
masochist. 

The physician who hypnotizes is obliged to awaken sentiments 
of sympathy in his subject to combat with their assistance the 
sentiments associated with the morbid state which it is desired 
to suppress. This is usually free from danger when there is no 
natural sexual attraction between the hypnotizer and the 
hypnotized; when, for example, a normal man hypnotizes 
another man, a normal woman another woman, or an invert 
another invert. Otherwise there is a risk of exciting sexual 
sympathies difficult to eliminate afterwards, when necessary pre- 
cautions have not been taken at first. These attractive sexual 
sensations or sentiments may affect both the hypnotizer and the 
hypnotized and provoke love scenes, which are fatal to success. 

For example, a hysterical baroness, whose sexual desire had * 
been excited by hypnotism, fell in love with a person named 
Czinsky, whose case was studied and published by Schrenck- 
Notzing. This baroness experienced a kind of suggested love 
against which her reason resisted to a certain extent, while her 
hypnotizer, himself amorous, lost his head. One might say in 
such a case that suggestion only reenforced the very human 



286 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

sentiments which occur in all love stories of everyday life. 
Between normal love and suggested love there is such an infinite 
number of gradations that it is impossible to fix exactly the 
limits which separate them. 

A hypnotizer may abuse his suggestive power to exploit the 
love of the hypnotized. I have been consulted in a case where 
an old woman had hypnotized a rich young man and had so 
powerfully influenced him that he abandoned his family and 
married her. As in the case of Czinsky, the abuse was obvious. 
The case was even more grave, for this old woman acted only 
from mercenary motives; in fact, she procured young girls for 
her husband, so as not to lose her suggestive influence after 
marriage: Czinsky, on the contrary, was truly amorous. 

As a general rule we may say that, when amorous intoxica- 
tion is the result of intentional suggestion, the subject obeys a 
certain sentiment of constraint, which he may describe later on 
when he has succeeded in recovering himself. He feels a kind 
of duplication of his personality, and perceives that the excita- 
tion of his sexual desire, as well as his love, have a somewhat 
forced nature, against which his reason attempts to defend him. 
This reaction often only appears afterwards, when the sympa- 
thetic action of suggestion begins to fade. 

Here again the gi'adations are infinite, and no absolute rules 
can be formulated, for if the hypnotizer is Very skillful and does 
not let his intentions appear, the subjective sentiment of con- 
straint may be absolutely wanting; i.e., never become conscious. 
If, however, the hypnotizer is clumsy and the subject a hysteri- 
cal woman, love is often transformed into hatred in the latter 
soon afterwards, as is so often the case in these subjects, and she 
may afterwards be convinced by auto-suggestion that she was 
the object of artificial constraint or even violence, and describe 
imaginary or unnatural events as if they were real; while she 
was simply amorous after the fashion of hysterical subjects. 

It is quite otherwise \\ith cases where a hypnotizer produces 
in a hypnotized woman a state of deep somnambulism and does 
harm to her without her knowledge. Here the victim is abso- 
lutely without will, and incapable of resisting. These last cases 
are much more easy to decide, especially from the legal point of 



I 

P SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 287 

view; but, as far as we are now concerned, the first cases are 
the most miportant. 

The amorous irradiations produced by the sexual appetite 
react on the latter and increase it. They awaken sentiments of 
reciprocal sympathy, from which results a mutual attraction 
similar to that of animals. Suggestive action depends on the 
mastery we obtain over the associated constellations of sub- 
conscious engrams, and we have already become acquainted 
with the phylogenetic and actual relationship which exists be- 
tween sexual sensations and sensations of sympathy. The sim- 
ple juxtaposition of these facts clearly shows that powerful 
affinities exist between suggestion and love. I use the word 
"affinity" advisedly, for we must not go further and regard the 
two things as identical. Fortunately, the majority of curable 
patients may be cured by the prudent awakening of a sfight 
degree of sympathy, and by the common efforts made by the 
hypnotizer and the hypnotized to subdue the morbid symptoms, 
without anything but a certain sentiment of reciprocal friend- 
ship resulting. On the other hand two human beings may be 
united by sexual love, without either being able to hypnotize 
the other. This is especially the case when, for example, two 
conjoints have known each other for many years, or when two 
persons of higher intelligence, who are not too dependent on 
their sexual intercourse, meet each other. 

I am obliged to dwell on these facts, so that my ideas may not 
be falsely interpreted, by premature generalization. On the 
other hand, when a strongly associated brain suggests to a weak 
brain of the opposite sex sentiments of sympathy and makes use 
of them to arouse the sexual appetite, it may produce a suggested 
love which closely resembles natural amorous intoxication. If 
the discovery of an imposture or abuse of power on the part of 
the hypnotizer weakens or destroys the effect of suggestion, the 
hjrpnotized subject recovers herself. Despite and repentance 
may then transform her love into hatred. 

In other cases there is a struggle between sexual desire and 
the disillusion of a deceived love, which often serves as the tragic 
motive in romance and the drama. The following is a typical 
case of suggested love without formal hypnotic proceedings: 



288 THE SEXUAL QUESTION I 

An old roue aged sixty, married and the father of a family, | 
persecuted a very suggestible young girl with his atten- ! 
tions, and systematically seduced her by means of erotic read- 
ings. He produced such an impression on this young girl that 
she became hypnotized and fell in love with the old roue 
She lost all conscience, became deceitful and untruthful by 
suggestion, and compromised herself and her family. Her 
seducer was poor, so that it was not his fortune that attracted 
her. She knew very well that this union could lead to nothing, 
but could not resist, and eloped with him. Later on she came 
to her senses and left him. 

According to an old proverb, young girls laugh at old men and 
only marry them reluctantly or for their money; but in reality 
this is by no means always true. 

Amorous Intoxication. — Let us now compare these phenomena 
with those of ordinary life called amorous intoxication. The 
affinities are at once apparent. A man and a woman meet and 
take a fancy for each other. The reciprocal action of looks, 
speech and touch, in fact all the apparatus of the senses and 
the mind, awakens in both of them sentiments of sympathy and 
sexual desire which mutually strengthens each other. Sexual 
desire invests eveiy action and appearance of the loved object 
with an ever-increasing halo of charm and splendor, and this 
halo of sexual origin increases in its turn the sentiments of sym- 
pathy; and the sentiments of sympathy increase the sexual 
desire. In this w^ay mutual suggestions grow like a snowball, 
and rapidly attain the culminating point of amorous intoxica- 
tion, or what is called being madly in love. I 

All this depends only on reciprocal illusion. The more 
violent and foolish the amorous intoxication, without prepara- 
tion or reflexion, and the less the individuals know each 
other, the more rapidly these illusions collapse, like a castle 
of cards, as soon as some douche of cold w^ater sobers the two 
lovers. Thus indifference, disgust, and even hatred, follow 
"love." 

The suggestive element in love is here apparent. Just as a 
hypnotized person will eagerly swallow a raw potato which he 
takes for an orange; so mil a person madly in love regard an 



SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 289 

Ugly or wicked girl as a goddess, or an amorous girl find her 
ideal of chivalry and manliness in an egoistic Don Juan. 

The affinity is still more evident when the amorous intoxica- 
tion is only on one side, while the other plays the part of seducer. 
When motives of pecuniary interest are not the only cause of 
seduction, and even often when they are, the seducer generally 
brings into play his sexual appetite, but only as a collaborator 
in his work of seduction without allowing himself to be domi- 
nated by it. In this case one is the seducer and the other the 
seduced. The seducer plays the part of the hypnotizer who 
suggests, while the seduced plays the part of the hjrpnotized, 
unless the seduction is due to fear, weakness of mind or good 
nature. The seducer is no doubt more or less under erotic in- 
fluence, but never completely. The seduced, on the contrary, 
falls completely under the power of the seducer. The thoughts, 
sentiments and will are all directed by the impulses of the 
seducer. The latter acquires his ascendancy by means of a 
kind of suggestive power, often assisted by the sexual appetite. 

In many cases the seduced gives way by pure suggestion of 
love without sexual desire. These are precisely the cases that 
the law does not foresee, and jurists cannot usually understand. 
In ordinary life, the man most often plays the part of seducer 
or hypnotizer; but this is not always the case. Antony, who 
threw himself at the feet of Cleopatra and obeyed her least 
gesture, was evidently hypnotized. Antonys are not rare even 
at the present day; but they do not constitute the rule, nor the 
normal state. 

As we have just described it, suggestion plays a great role in 
love, and explains to a great extent the phenomena of illusion 
produced by amorous intoxication. In spite of the act which 
deifies it and the ecstatic happiness that accompanies it, we 
must admit that amorous intoxication, with its illusory sugges- 
tions uncontrolled by reason, brings more poison than true hap- 
piness into human hfe. I will attempt to explain the matter 
more clearly. When two human beings with loyal instincts 
have learned to know each other sufficiently, honestly avo\nng 
their reciprocal feelings and their past life, at the same time 
subduing their sensual appetites and judging the latter with 



290 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

calmness, so as to be convinced that they may reasonably hope 
to form a dm'able and happy union, then only may they abandon 
themselves to amorous intoxication, but not before. The fact 
that the latter makes each lover appear to the other in the most 
ideal light only serves to strengthen the feelings of sympathy 
and make them last for life. 

On the other hand, two egoists calculating coldly, even if 
they have strong sexual appetites and trouble themselves very 
little with reflections on their intellect, may contract a compara- 
tively happy marriage, based simply on reciprocal convenience 
and interest; a marriage in which amorous injtoxication only 
plays a very small part, or none at all. 

The latter case is of great frequency. The novel which de- 
lights in the description of admirable or ignoble sentiments, and 
which shows a special preference for bizarre and sensational 
situations, often of a pathological nature, makes us forget that 
the majority of mediocre and normal men are little susceptible 
to the suggestions of amorous intoxication, and that they give 
vent to their sexual desires in a more or less reflective and cal- 
culating frame of mind, like a gourmand. This is not poetical, 
I admit, but it is much more human. Many women also become 
gourmands in sexual matters. 

In all this sexual commerce there are only vestiges or carica- 
tures of the poetry of amorous intoxication. It is no longer 
a question of deep love, but of essentially commonplace sexual 
enjoyment, wisely and prudently adapted to other objects of con- 
cupiscence, such as money, social position, titles, business, etc. 

If the poets and the preachers of morality apostrophize me 
with indignation saying that this is the prostitution of love, I 
shall be obliged to protest. So long as sexual enjoyment is 
not bought, there is no prostitution. Man has as much right to 
a certain agreeable satisfaction of his sexual appetite, even with- 
out exalted sentiments, as he has to satisfy his hunger and thirst, 
as long as he does no harm to anyone. But, I repeat, this ques- 
tion has nothing to do with amorous intoxication. The latter 
is a powerful shock to the whole mind, to the principal spheres 
of cerebral activity, by a suggestive effect, usually with the aid 
of the sexual appetite, but sometimes without it. 



SUGGESTION IN SEXUAL LIFE 291 

Amorous intoxication naturally differs in quality and in 
intensity in different individuals. In a person with ideal tend- 
encies it may awaken the finest harmonies of the symphony 
of human sentiments, while brutal and debased persons may 
wallow in the mud. 

Suggestion in Art.— Suggestion does not act only in the sexual 
sphere, but on the whole mental life. In aesthetics and in art 
it has an immense and irresistible influence, which gives rise to 
all the capricious exaltations of fashion. The average artist is 
more or less the slave of the aesthetic suggestions which are in 
fashion, but the average members of the public are absolutely 
dominated by them. Originating in a correct idea of certain 
effects of light, the most absurd exaggerations may become 
accepted as beautiful and natural by an imitative public devoid 
of personal judgment, by the aid of suggestion. These deplor- 
able effects of suggestion may last a long time till their nullity 
or their absurdity causes them gradually to disappear. But 
they are usually replaced by other ^-bsurdities. 

Suggestive Action in Sexual Anomalies. — In very suggestible 
persons the sexual appetite may be easily led astray by sensory 
impressions created by perverse images. In this way the erotic 
imagination of a very suggestible boy, excited indirectly by 
another boy, may even make the latter the object of his sexual 
desire. This is how homosexual inclinations may be formed by 
suggestion and maintained by mutual masturbation, pederasty, 
etc. The duration of a perversion of this kind often depends on 
the power of the erotic image which suggested sexual desire. 
This is also the case with onanism, sodomy, etc.; and in the 
inverse direction with impotence. 

These facts explain at the same time why and how suggestion 
may cure or ameliorate the anomalies of sexual life. Just as 
suggestion may excite or pervert the sexual appetite, so may 
it calm it and put it in the right direction, unless there is a 
deeply rooted hereditary perversion. We can nearly always 
considerably attenuate too-frequent emissions, masturbation 
and perversions by suggestion, and often entirely cure their 
acquired forms. 

I must here point out that when we have succeeded in 



292 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

removing by suggestion a perversion based in whole or in part 
on organic or hereditary causes, this result is always more or 
less precarious, and does not give the physician the right to give 
his sanction to marriage. The following case shows us what 
prudence on the part of the hypnotizer can do with patients 
of this kind: 

/^ K young girl, of good education, was troubled with intense 
sexual desire. She was incapable of resisting masturbation and 
dreamed at night that men and animals were in contact with her 
vulva. These dreams caused intense excitement and were ac- 
companied by orgasms. The treatment of a patient of this kind 
by suggestion was no easy matter. However, with the aid of a 
local sedative, the action of which it is needless to say was purely 
suggestive and was combined with appropriate verbal sugges- 
tions, I succeeded not only in suppressing the onanism, but also 
in almost completely curing the nervous exhaustion of this young 
girl, so that she was afterwards able to resume work. 

I may add that the patient was hypnotized in the presence of 
others, which can always be done in such cases with a little tact. 
This is a rule from which the physician should never depart. 

I cannot enter into more details on this subject, but what I 
have said will suffice to draw the attention of my readers to the 
action of suggestion in the sexual appetite and in love. 



I 



CHAPTER X 

THE SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO MONEY AND PROPERTY 
PROSTITUTION, PROXENETISM AND VENAL CONCUBINAGE 

GENERAL REMARKS 

In Chapter VI we have studied the historical development of 
human marriage as a continuation of the phylogeny of our 
species, and we have shown that marriage by purchase and 
different forms of polygamy constitute a kind of intermediate 
stage and at the same time an aberration of civilization, which 
has resulted from the association of men, combined with the 
birth of individual property. 

When we consider a being of high mentality and deeply rooted 
individualism such as man, in whom the instinct of love and 
family are so strong, led by the inevitable force of circumstances 
to live in the society of his fellows, we can easily understand that 
certain individuals of a higher mentality than the others will 
endeavor to dominate the weaker and less inteUigent, and 
exploit them for their own profit and that of theu" family. 

Analogous tendencies are seen in certain animals. Among 
the bees the old workers appropriate the produce of the work 
of others. Certain ants practice a form of slavery, based, it is 
true on instinct, in stealing the pupae of weaker species which, 
after hatching, become the servants of the idle robbers. 

In incomplete animal societies, such as those of the ruminants, 
certain monkeys, etc., the old males, sometimes also the more 
courageous females (cows, for example) direct the herd and 
become recognized as chiefs by the others. But in these cases 
the personal property of objects or even living beings takes no 
part, because the animals have not yet learned its value. 

Other animals living isolated show the first tendencies toward 
personal property ; for example, the nest where they hoard their 
provisions, while others, such as the ants, bees, wasps, etc., have 

293 



294 \ THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

the"" sentiment of collective property well developed. For 
instance, a swarm of ants regards plants with grubs as its 
property, and defends them in consequence. 
X As soon as he has attained a primitive degree of culture, man 
' comprehends that the possession, not only of land and the pro- 
duce of work, but also the persons of other men, may profit him; 
and this leads to slavery. The male being the stronger soon 
combines the satisfaction of his sexual appetite with the ad- 
vantage of property, by placing the woman more and more under 
his dependence and exploiting her. In this way woman becomes 
an object for sale and exchange, which will procure the pur- 
chaser, besides satisfaction for his sexual appetite, a docile slave 
and worker and a procreator of children, a source of other 
workers. 

This motive, so clearly revealed by ethnography and history, 
sufficiently explains the ignoble traffic that man has made of 
love, or rather of sexual appetite. We have seen in Chapter 
VI the profit made by polygamous barbarians by the possession 
of many wives and children, which led more and more to the 
buying and selhng of the latter. These customs are instinctively 
related to the traffic of slaves. Our modern civilization has 
happily abolished these taints, but money still influences our 
sfexual life by measures which are hardly any better. The com- 
/plication and refinement of civilized life have made women and 
'/ children objects of luxury, and not a source of wealth as in 
/ former times. This is due to two causes. On the one hand, a 
wider and more humane conception of the social position of 
women and children has extended their rights. Man cannot 
now exploit them to the same extent as in the time of patriarch- 
ism, while the father of the family has, on the contrary, the duty 
of maintaining his wife and family, and of giving the latter a 
proper education. Among the poor, the exploitation of the 
wife and children still exists; but in the case of the rich and 
cultured the inverse phenomenon is produced. With the inten- 
tion of making his family happy and distinguished, the father 
brings it up in luxury and idleness, and this produces a very 
harmful result. The increasing refinement of modern life and 
its pleasures leads to effeminacy. It bears upon the whole of 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 295 

society and degenerates into an artificial desire for brilliancy 
and show, which makes it increasingly difficult to obtain a 
simple and sober education for the family. Men and women, 
especially the latter, do their best to ecHpse each other in their 
table, their toilet, the comfort and luxury of their apartments, 
their pleasures and distractions, their banquets and fetes. An 
enormous mass of the produce of human labor is thus dissipated 
in futihties, for the benefit of unbridled frivolity and luxury. 
It is owing to this that a civilization which, thanks to science 
and progress, far surpasses all those which have preceded it in 
the richness of its means of production for the wants of humanity, 
not only shows more and more rich with superfluous wealth, 
but also more and more poor who vegetate from the want of it. 

What is still more grave is that, for reasons of economy, the 
intelligent, educated and cultured marry less often and pro- 
create fewer children. Again, our descendants degenerate more 
and more, owing to the consumption of alcohol or other nar- 
cotics, and the unhealthy life they lead. This degeneration is 
dissimulated by their well-nourished appearance, but is revealed 
in their increasing neuropathic tendency. They become accus- 
tomed to a number of artificial wants, which make them in- 
creasingly difficult to satisfy. This results in their exacting ' 
from society much more than they give to it by their work; 
whereas each ought to give to society more than he receives \ 
from it. As evil omens, I must mention the idletiess of many 
women with regard to household and manual work. What are 
the effects of this state of things on the sexual life of modern 
society? They are of three kinds: 

(1) Marriage for moneij; (2) prostitution, exploited by proxenet- 
ism, and between the two (3) venal concubinage. 

MARRIAGE FOR MONEY , 

Marriage for money is the modern form or derivative of mar- 
riage by purchase. Formerly one bought a wife and sold a 
daughter; to-day one is sold to a wife and buys a son-in-law. 
The improvement consists in the fact that the buyer and the 
bought are no longer in the positions of proprietor and object 
possessed, respectively. Nevertheless, marriage at the present 



296 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

day gives rise to much traffic, speculation and exploitation of an 
evil nature. 

These things are so well known that I need not dwell upon 
them. In place of love, force of character, capacity, harmony 
of sentiments, intellectual and bodily health, money is the alpha 
et omega of marriage. Money dazzles most men so that they 
are blind to everything else. They no longer understand that 
the health and the physical and moral worth of a woman con- 
stitute a capital which is far preferable to all the title-deeds 
deposited in the coffers of the future father-in-law, which are 
rapidly squandered by children tainted with bad physical or 
mental heredity. In this way ignorance of the laws of heredity 
and the rapacity of pecuniary interests perpetually tend toward 
the antisocial procreation of a degenerate posterity. 

Inversely, a number of capable and healthy men and women 
remain celibate and sterile for want of money. Capital ex- 
ploits them as workers and prevents them from reproducing 
their race; or else their own foresight induces them to avoid 
procreation. 

A characteristic sign is observed in military circles, especially 
in the German army where officers who are not well-to-do are 
forbidden to marry a woman unless she has a certain income. 
The officer must bring up his family in accordance with his posi- 
tion. This system, which it is sought to justify by all kinds of 
reasons, shows how the worship of the golden calf and class 
prejudices may degenerate our manners and customs. Without 
fortune one cannot serve the country as an officer, or marry, 
except by selling oneself to a rich woman. In other terms, an 
officer cannot marry according to his own inclination unless he 
possesses a certain fortune. No doubt there are officers who 
marry for love; nevertheless, they are not only obliged to have 
a certain fortune, but the woman they marry must have a cer- 
tain social position and have been well educated. The wife of 
an officer has to take part in balls and official gatherings. She 
is forbidden to carry on openly any business, and her parents 
must not even be shopkeepers! In a German town, one of my 
relatives heard a rich mother say to her daughter, who could 
not make up her mind to marry a gentleman who proposed to 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 297 

her: ''If you do not want him, let him go; we do not wish to 
persuade you. We have plenty of money, and if you want to 
marry later on we can easily buy you an officer!" 

In the tyi'anny of class marriages, it is money which almost 
always decides the question. Formerly birth and nobility were 
everything, and it was these which brought power and fortune; 
nowadays money has replaced them, and has monopolized 
universal power. If an energetic and intelligent man revolts, 
by returning to modest and primitive customs, if he dresses 
simply, performs manual labor, takes his meals at the same 
table as his servants, etc., he is despised and is not received into 
what is called good society. 

It is only up to a certain point, and with the exercise of great 
prudence, that any attempt can be made to react against the 
whirlwind of our unbridled luxury, and it is in marriage that 
this becomes most delicate and most difficult. A well-brought- 
up and well-educated man with no money, who wishes to marry 
while he is a student, so as to avoid prostitution or other evils; 
who is content to live in humble quarters with his wife, each 
doing their own work, will have great difficulty in finding a well- 
nurtured girl to consent to such an arrangement. Everything 
has to be regulated according to the fashion, customs and preju- 
dices of the class in which he lives, and this usually renders mar- 
riage impossible, as long as he has not what is called a position. 
But no one wiU blame the same student for living in concubinage 
with a grisette. Why cannot the same means of existence which 
allow concubinage suffice for marriage? With this question I 
only touch on a problem to which we shall return, at the same 
time pointing out the canker which corrupts our modern 
sexual hfe. 

By marriage for money we understand marriage which is 
based on interest and not on love. It is not always a question 
of money ; for position, name, titles and convenience often com- 
pHcate the question. Sometimes a ruined aristocrat marries a 
rich tradesman's daughter, in order to repair his fortune, while 
the vanity of his fiancee makes a title a desirable acquisition. 
Sometimes a coquette, by clever flirtation, will simulate a love 
which she does not feel, to catch a rich man in her net. But 



298 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

more commonly there is calculation on both sides and both are 
duped. 

Marriage for money is not confined to the rich but also occurs 
among peasants and working people. Everywhere it constitutes 
one of the principal corrupting elements of sexual intercourse 
and procreation. Hard-working servants who have succeeded 
in saving a few hundred dollars are often married for the sake 
of this small sum, and then abandoned as soon as the husband 
has squandered it. I do not pretend that a marriage for money 
can never be happy; it may happen that the contract is an hon- 
est one and that love follows it more or less haltingly, especially 
when the calculators have taken into account character and 
health, etc., as well as money. 

There is no need for me to continue this theme any further, 
and I shall conclude by stating that this system opens the door 
to hypocrisy, deceit and abuse of all kinds. It is not without 
reason that marriage for money has been branded with the name 
of fashionable prostitution. 

PROSTITUTION AND PROXENETISM 

Prostitution is a very ancient institution and a sign of degen- 
eration which is found more or less among all nations. When 
woman is an article for sale it is not surprising that those whose 
moral worth is weak take the traffic into their own hands when 
they can, and sell themselves to men to satisfy their sexual appe- 
tites, instead of allowing themselves to be passively exploited as 
articles of commerce. Man being the stronger finds it advan- 
tageous in the lower and barbarous states of civilization to 
monopolize this traffic for his own profit, and deliver the women 
under his domination to prostitution. We have seen that 
fathers give then' daughters, and husbands their wives to pros- 
titution. 

For the same reason, the woman who prostitutes herself in 
our modern civilization, always runs the risk of being abused 
without payment; which is not to be wondered at considering 
the doubtful quality of the usual clients of the prostitute. It is 
therefore natural that she should seek for a means of protection. 
She thus takes a male protector, or ''bully," whom she pays; 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 299 

or else she joins the service of those who make a business of 
prostitution — or proxenetism. Proxenetism and protectors are 
thus the parasites of prostitution. 

Prostitution flourished amongst the ancients and also in the 
Middle Ages, especially after the Crusades (Chapter VI). I do 
not propose to write the history of prostitution; it is sufficient 
to be acquainted with that of the present day. I may, how- 
ever, remark that among a number of primitive races, and in 
young and progressive nations, whose sexual life is still com- 
paratively pure, prostitution is only feebly developed. It is 
especially to Napoleon I that we owe the present form of regu- 
lation and organization of prostitutes. Like all his legislation 
on marriage and sexual intercourse, this regulation is the living 
expression of his sentiments toward woman; oppression of the 
female sex, contempt of its rights, and degradation of its indi- 
viduals to the state of articles of pleasure for men, and machines 
for reproduction. 

Organization and Regulation of Prostitution. — We have just 
seen the social conditions under which prostitution becomes 
quite naturally organized, with its protectors and its proxenet- 
ism. There is another factor to be added— that of venereal 
disease. The infectious germs of syphilis and gonorrhea are 
usually met with in the genital organs of man and woman; so 
that every coitus between a healthy and an infected individual 
may infect the former. Hence the danger of the spread of 
infection increases with the number of mutations in sexual 
intercourse. If a woman offers herself systematically to all the 
men who wish for her, the probability that she will be infected 
by one of them increases in proportion to the number of chents. 

In the second place, as soon as she is infected, the danger is 
increased by the number of men who have connection with her, 
for she will probably infect a large proportion of them. 

While paying much attention to venereal diseases and their 
consequences, medicine has shown itself inconceivably blind in 
not comprehending the bearing of this elementary arithmetic. 
We must take into account the fact that the complete cure of 
syphilis is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove; that this 
disease is extremely infectious, at least during the first two 



300 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

years of its course; and that it extends to the blood and the 
whole organism, so that it may be communicated, not only by 
large visible sores, but by small excoriations hidden in the 
mucous membrane of the vagina or the mouth, etc. 

We must also remember that gonorrhea is less painful in 
woman than in man, and that, even in the latter, it ceases to be 
painful when it becomes chronic. We may add that the mi- 
crobes (the gonococci) are very difficult to reach in all the re- 
cesses of the mucous membrane of the sexual organs in which 
they are hidden, and that in women they penetrate as far as 
the womb, when a cure becomes almost impossible. 

If we consider that the sexual organs of woman form deep 
and hidden cavities which it is veiy difficult to examine thor- 
oughly, in spite of all the apparatus of modern surgery, and that 
the mouth in prostitutes is also frequently contaminated by 
unnatural manipulations; lastly, that no part of their body 
is absolutely indemnified, it is easy to understand the great 
danger of infection in public prostitution. 

Recognizing the danger of venereal disease, the regulation of 
prostitution was instituted by medical men with the good inten- 
tion of eliminating or of diminishing its danger, since they 
regarded its suppression as impossible. This system consists 
in the official supervision and inscription of every woman who 
prostitutes herself. She is given an official form which obliges 
her to submit to medical examination once a week or once a 
fortnight, under the penalty of being arrested and punished. 

To facilitate medical control, regulation generally endeavors 
to lodge prostitutes in brothels or lupanars, under the direction 
of a proxenet. In theory, the brothel is not exactly considered 
as a State institution of public health; the word toleration being 
used in this connection, signifying that it is regarded as a tol- 
erated evil. Nevertheless, this distinction only rests on uncer- 
tain and subtle characters. To tolerate, to license, to organize, 
to recognize and favor, to protect and recommend are notions 
which merge into one another insensibly. As soon as the State 
tolerates prostitution and brothels, it is obliged to enter into 
official contracts with prostitutes and proxenetism; therefore, 
it recognizes them. Moreover, the services which it renders 



1 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 301 

must be paid for. It is therefore necessary that prostitutes 
and proxenets should pay their tribute to the State and to the 
doctors: but "the one who pays commands," 

No doubt this proverb must not be taken to the letter, never- 
theless the one who pays always exerts a certain pressure on the 
one who receives, and for this reason proxenets and inscribed 
prostitutes have some idea that they form part of an official 
institution, which raises their position not only in their own 
eyes but in those of the irreflective masses. I will cite two 
examples which show how effectively the public organization 
of a vicious social anomaly confuses ideas in persons of limited 
intelligence. 

One of my friends was engaged in combating the official 
regulation of prostitution. A woman, who misunderstood his 
object, came to him complaining bitterly of the loose life her 
daughter was leading, and asked him if he could not help her 
by placing her in a brothel licensed by the State; she would 
then be under the care of a paternal government! 

An old proxenet in Paris requested the authorities to transfer 
the management of her brothel to her daughter, aged nineteen. 
Her house, she said, was honest and managed in a loyal and 
religious spirit; her daughter was capable and initiated into 
the business and would carry it on in the same irreproachable 
manner as hitherto. 

These two examples of ingenuousness are sufficiently charac- 
teristic of the morality of the system. In La Maison Tellier 
Guy de Maupassant has depicted with his masterly pen the 
psychology of the prostitute, the proxenet, and their clients. 

For reasons previously mentioned no real confidence can be 
placed in periodical medical examination of prostitutes; on the 
contrary it gives the male public a false security. The object 
of these medical visits is to eliminate diseased women from 
circulation and compel them to submit to hospital treatment. 
But any one acquainted with the facts knows that the treatment 
is ifiusory. In a short time every woman in a brothel is infected, 
with very few exceptions. But, on the one hand, the proxenets 
and the prostitutes have every interest in shortening the time 
in hospital; and, on the other hand, the visiting doctor, who 



302 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

often lives partly by their fees, is obliged to treat them with 
respect. [In Paris, the doctors in charge of the inspection of 
prostitutes are paid by the State, and do not depend on fees 
from the women,] The treatment of venereal disease being of 
long duration and very uncertain in its effects, a vicious cncle 
is formed. 

A conscientious Dutch doctor, Chanfleury van Issjelstein, 
who attempted to eliminate all infected prostitutes from the 
brothels, succeeded in almost emptying them, by subjecting the 
infected women to prolonged treatment in hospital. This led 
to a revolt which endangered his life, and he^had to abandon 
his scheme. 

In ordinary hospital practice only visible sores are treated, 
and gonorrheal discharges as long as they are apparent; the 
prostitutes are then allowed to return to their brothels. More- 
over, inspection is made too rapidly; for, if every woman was 
examined carefully from head to foot every week, neither the 
brothels, the prostitutes nor the doctors could exist. 

Certain persons have made the proposition, as ridiculous as it 
is radical, of submitting every man who visits a prostitute to 
medical inspection! This would indeed be the only means of 
preventing the infection of prostitutes. But I ask my readers 
to imagine such a measure put in practice. Is it likely that the 
habitues of brothels, some of whom visit prostitutes nearly every 
day or oftener, would make this known to a doctor in their 
town, and submit, before each coitus, to a medical examination 
which would cost them more time and money than their pleasure ! 
Can one imagine doctors examining whole queues of clients 
waiting their turn in brothels when business is brisk! 

Whilst an independent prostitute still possesses some human 
sentiment and a vestige of modesty which cause her to choose 
as far as possible a limited number of clients, the police certifi- 
cate of regulation officially places the woman who receives it in 
the class of the pariahs of society, and this leads to her losing 
the little that remains of her womanly nature. In brothels, the 
last vestige of her human nature is trampled under foot. 

Degrees of Prostitution. Protectors. — Several degrees can be 
recognized in private prostitution. A variety of prostitute 



SEXUAL QUESTIOISI IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 303 

rather less low than others, looks for clients at public balls, 
certain cafes and other doubtful localities, and hires herself to a 
certain number of temporary acquaintances. The lowest and 
most common form of private prostitution is that of the streets. 
Generally at night, but sometimes in the daytime, these pros- 
titutes, dressed so as to attract attention, promenade in 
certain well-known and frequented streets, and solicit passers-by. 
This is the common method employed in nearly all towns. This 
solicitation is supervised by the police in countries where prosti- 
tution is regulated, and is only permitted to women who possess 
their certificate of inscription. 

Here the "protector" (bully) intervenes, and keeps an eye 
on the clients at the prostitute's house, or sometimes in the 
street. If they do not pay up, or pay too little, or if they threaten 
or ill-treat the woman, the protector administers a drubbing, 
and sometimes relieves them of their purse or clothes. 

At the same time the protector spies on the police for the 
benefit of the prostitute. Sometimes he assumes the position 
of legitimate husband, so as to facilitate taking rooms. A 
"husband" of this kind, with a citizen's rights, is very useful 
to foreign prostitutes, for without him they would risk expul- 
sion. The protector is generally a scamp of the worst kind, 
an absolutely depraved and idle vagabond who is entirely 
maintained by his "wife." 

Some protectors shine by their sexual power, and are at the 
same time the real lovers of the prostitutes, who keep them, and 
are plundered by them. While they submit to coitus with their 
clients without any pleasure, and only simulate voluptuous sen- 
sations, they abandon themselves to their protectors or lovers 
with ardor. It is needless to add that the protectors are often 
criminals, or of the criminal type. Those who are well ac- 
quainted with prostitution declare that it would be impossible 
without the protector, who is at the same time the friend, pro- 
tector and exploiter of the prostitute, while the brothel keeper 
is only concerned with her wholesale systematic exploitation. 

Brothels and Proxenets. — Under the pretext of avoiding the 
dangers of prostitution in the streets, brothels were organized. 
These are generally managed by an elderly female profligate. 



304 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

often in partnership with a "husband," who is only a superior 
kind of protector. Officially, the prostitutes are free lodgers 
in the brothel, but in reality they are often prisoners or slaves. 
They are well fed and dressed in a way to attract the clients as 
much as possible. Clothes, food, etc., are placed to their ac- 
count and the crafty brothel keeper generally manages to get 
them into debt so as to always remain their creditor. In this 
way these miserable outcasts of society, who are generally inca- 
pable of claiming their legal rights, are more or less reduced to 
slavery. Apparently they are free, but in reality they can 
hardly leave the house ^vithout paying their, debts, and the 
brothel keeper who wishes to keep them arranges so that they 
cannot pay it. 

It is not always easy to distinguish between the different 
classes of prostitutes: the prostitute of the brothel, the street 
prostitute under inscription or not, the private prostitute and 
lorette or grisette. Sometimes a woman may rise from one class 
to another; but more often she falls lower and lower. 

We may mention here one of the dangers of brothels. Their 
good organization, their medical supervision, etc., are extolled; 
but the great danger of the arithmetical progression of muta- 
tions in sexual intercourse is ignored. While a private prosti- 
tute rarely receives more than one client in an evening, and is 
not absolutely obliged to receive more, every prostitute in a 
brothel is forced to receive as many as present themselves. A 
girl may thus have connection with men twenty or thirty times 
in the same night. 

Under certain circumstances, for instance at the time of con- 
scription for recruits at Brussels, the brothels are besieged to 
such a point that one man has hardly time to finish coitus before 
another comes to take his place. It is obvious that such "file 
firing" greatly increases the danger of venereal infection, since a 
single infected person is sufficient to contaminate innumerable 
clients (even without the woman herself becoming infected). 

It is often denied that the brothel is a prison, yet this fact has 
been often demonstrated. When, as in France, the police can 
arrest a prostitute at pleasure — often a virtuous young girl who 
is taken for such — and put her on the inscription list, the thing 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 305 

is obvious. I have treated a girl who became the mistress of a 
police agent in Paris under the thi-eat of being inscribed as a 
prostitute. 

Again, besides the debts we have spoken of, the proxenets 
have many other ways of keeping prostitutes under their de- 
pendence. It is very difficult for ignorant girls, placed under 
the ban of society, to return to a free and virtuous life. But if a 
girl shows signs of wishing to leave a brothel, heroic measures 
are adopted, in the form of international exchange. A girl who 
is unacquainted with the language of the country is naturally 
more incapable of gaining her freedom than one who does. 
This is one of the reasons why the brothels of different countries 
exchange their women. 

This expedient, which also satisfies clients who desire a 
change, leads to the exportation of women from one country 
to another, under false pretenses, such as the promise of lucra- 
tive and easy situations. In this way young Swiss girls are 
exported to Hungary, Hungarians to Switzerland, Germans to 
France, French to England, Europeans to Buenos- Ayres, Creoles 
to Europe, etc. For example, if a young French girl has been 
exported to Budar-Pest or Buenos- Ayres, we may be certain that 
she will lose all inclination to run away; for what can she do — 
a stranger without a cent, with her ignorance and want of char- 
acter, alone in the streets, when she does not understand a word 
of the language? 

White Slavery. — The modern commerce in female slaves of 
civilized Europe destined for prostitution is closely connected 
with the facts we have just described. The manner in which 
brothels exchange their merchandise only concerns one side of 
the question. The principal art consists in obtaining young 
girls, of twelve to seventeen years of age, for the brothels. This 
traffic is formally prohibited by most laws; but what are laws 
made for, if not to be broken? There are so many means of 
training children under some pretext or other, before they are 
independent enough to escape this fife of infamy. There are so 
many depraved or hungiy parents who are ready to sell their 
children if, in hypocritical but transparent language, a good 
situation is promised them with payment in advance. 



306 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

During a railway journey, I was myself a -fitness of the man- 
ner in which a young girl of twelve was sold in this way and sent 
to Pressburg. I was also simple enough to try and appeal for 
the intervention of a consul and an ambassador to prevent the 
perpetration of the crime. They only replied by shi'ugging their 
shoulders. How could I prove the matter before a tribunal? 
The child was accompanied by a woman who admitted to me 
that there could hardly be any other question than the sale of 
the child for prostitution. She had only been ordered to take 
the child to Vienna, where they would come and take her. 
This shows the impotence of any person who tries to prevent 
such infamies. 

During the last few years an international organization has at 
last been formed to combat white slavery; but so far it has not 
obtained much result. By the aid of depraved parents and all 
their criminal system of seduction, the proxenets always find 
a way of attaining theu object. Moreover, it is difficult to see 
how the State can prevent proxenetism from obtaining its mer- 
chandise, so long as it tolerates and licenses it. We must re- 
member that very young girls, almost children, are the most 
easy to seduce and the most sought after. 

The Training of Prostitutes. — The most repugnant aspect of 
proxenetism is the seduction and systematic training of the girls. 
The desire for money and fine dresses, the promise of good situa- 
tions, and especially alcoholic intoxication, all play their part 
in the diabolical art of proxenetism. Many young girls, frivo- 
lous and fond of pleasure, but not mshing to go any further, are 
easily seduced under the influence of '\\dne. As soon as some 
protector has succeeded in seducing a girl, he trades on her 
shame and fear of discovery, adding threats and blackmail. 
When she has become sufficiently accustomed to sexual inter- 
course, she is initiated into the high-school of vice, and syste- 
matically instructed in exciting the sexual appetites of men by 
all possible means, natm-al or otherwise. She is first of all 
taught how to simulate the venereal orgasm by her movements, 
breathing, etc.; to practice coi^ms a& ore, etc. ; to conform to the 
pathological requirements of masochists, sadists, etc., (Chapter 
VIII). Girls who have been seduced and abandoned, and 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 307 

those who have had illegitimate children, are the most suitable 
objects for exploitation by the jackals of proxenetism. If it is 
objected that the majority of prostitutes have a bad hereditary 
taint, and that their frivolity and idleness inchne them from 
the first to their trade, I reply that frivolity and love of pleasure 
are not at all the same thing as the ignoble slavery and dis- 
gusting life of a prostitute in a brothel. 

The part played by alcohol in prostitution has not been 
estimated at its true value. The coarser and more degraded 
forms of prostitution would not be possible without it. It is by 
the aid of alcoholic orgies that most girls are seduced, and by 
chronic drunkenness that they sustain themselves in their 
degradation. 

Localized Prostitution. — In certain towns, Hamburg for in- 
stance, an attempt has been made to establish an organization 
intermediate between the brothel and private prostitution, by 
compelling all prostitutes to inhabit certain special streets 
which are reserved for them, at the same time being inscribed 
by the police. The result has been deplorable, and these streets 
have become uninhabitable. It must be borne in mind that 
the owners or managers of these houses become from this fact 
more or less analogous to proxenets. Whoever lets his house 
for such an object must possess very little sentiment of 
modesty and duty, for he lives indirectly on the produce of 
prostitution. 

Clandestine Brothels. — Besides the official brothels, of which 
we have spoken, there are a number of secret organizations of 
all kinds, which the State is the less able to prevent as it organ- 
izes and tolerates prostitution and proxenetism on its own 
account. A number of taverns possess secret chambers which 
are only small brothels, in which the servants act at the same 
time as prostitutes. 

It is the same with many small shops (gloves, perfumes, etc.), 
whose innocent appearance only serves as a blind. A number 
of cafes chmiiants are also connected with prostitution and 
proxenetism. Certain tobacco shops, etc., sell obscene objects 
such as pornographic pictures. All these things act especially 
on youth and become disseminated in colleges. 



308 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

The Number of Prostitutes. — The number of prostitutes has 
been estimated at 30,000 in Berlin, 40,000 in Paris, and 60,000 
in London. It can hardly be assumed that all these women 
have a pathological heredity. As soon as the State recognizes 
the right of existence of this dung-heap, by its toleration and 
organization, corruption hitherto hidden and ashamed raises 
its head and becomes more and more bold, even dragging public 
organs into its sink. It is the public especially, but also the 
authorities and the doctors who become corrupted by contact 
with official proxenetism, which confuses the ideas of morality 
in every one's head (vide La Maison Tellier, de Maupassant). 
They shut their eyes to the haunts of vice. The proxenets feel 
that they are important personages, and the more enterprising 
of them very often enjoy secret favors and receive visits from 
State officials, and even married persons of high position. It 
is not difficult for any one who reflects a little to see what this 
state of things leads to. 

Prostitution and the Police. — The police know very well that 
in certain brothels prostitution is not only associated with alco- 
holic excess, but that certain houses become the haunts of crimi- 
nals. They even regard certain low-class brothels and taverns 
frequented by prostitutes as very useful for the discovery of 
criminals. Spies of all kinds are met with in these places, from 
the secret agent who tracks a criminal and flirts at the same 
time with the prostitutes, to the counter-spy employed by the 
proxenets to watch the secret agent. It is here that the crimi- 
nal world acquires its rakish manners, but its weakness for 
women and alcohol cause it to fall early into the traps of the 
secret police. It is here also, as well as in the salons of high- 
class proxenetism, that we meet with those indefinable indi- 
viduals who are to-day secret agents of the government, to- 
morrow false noblemen or criminals, and the day after prox- 
enets, and whom a former minister of the German Empire 
designated by the euphemistic term of "non-gentleman." 

The Psychology of Prostitutes and the Cause of Prostitution. — 
The psychology of prostitutes is a difficult and complicated 
subject. According to the point of view of those who judge 
them, they are considered as women of evil and incorrigible 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 309 

instincts, or as the victims of our bad social organiza- 
tions. These two assertions are by their exclusiveness 
equally false. Urged by Christian charity, many societies for 
the improvement of moraUty have attempted to rescue fallen 
women; but, as might be expected, the results have not been 
satisfactory. In fact, the mind of woman is quite differently 
dominated by sexual ideas and their irradiations than that of 
man. It is also less plastic, and becomes more easily the slave 
of habit and routine. If, therefore, a woman has been sys- 
tematically trained in sexual aberrations from her youth up- 
ward, all her ideas are concentrated on debauch and sexual 
intercourse, so that it becomes impossible later on to restore 
her to a life of serious social duty. Rare exceptions con- 
firm this rule. Moreover, sexual excitation in women awak- 
ens sexual desire, which becomes exalted by repetition and 
habit. 

On the other hand, it is necessary to recognize that girls who 
are idle, of weak character, hysterical, easily suggestible, co- 
quettes or nymphomaniacs, are subjects specially disposed to 
become seduced. Lastly, poverty is one of the most powerful 
auxiliaries of prostitution. I do not wish to be sentimental, 
nor to give too much weight to the well-known statement that a 
poor woman prostitutes herself to appease her children's hunger, 
or her own. No doubt this happens among the oriental Jews 
and among the proletariat of large towns, but it is, on the 
whole, exceptional. 

Poverty acts indirectly in a much more intense and efficacious 
manner. First of all it compels the proletariat to live in the most 
disgusting promiscuity. Not only do the father, the mother and 
the children occupy the same room, but they sleep there, often 
in the same bed. The children are witnesses of their parents' 
coitus and become initiated in sexual intercourse, often in its 
most bestial form, under the influence of alcohol, for example. 
Neglected and herded together with other children, most of them 
as badly brought up as themselves, from their early youth they 
become acquainted not only with the most gross and filthy 
things, but also with the most pathological and deformed 
excrescences of the unhealthy life of towns. In the proletariat 



310 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of certain towns there are few girls of fourteen years of age who 
are still virgins. 

Again, poverty urges parents to exploit their children, for it 
is easy to deliver them into the hands of proxenetism. But this 
is not confined to the poorest classes; among small tradespeople, 
poverty is also an indirect agent of prostitution. Here again 
the effect of pitiless exploitation is seen; in certain occupations 
which leave the girls free evenings, and also in certain shops, 
the proprietor only pays his employes an absurdly smaU salary, 
because they can add to it by prostitution. For this reason, 
many saleswomen, dressmakers, etc., are obliged to content 
themselves "^ith a minimum wage. AATien they complain, and 
especially when they are good looking, they are often given to 
understand that with their attractive appearance it is very 
easy for them to increase their income, for many a young man 
would be glad to "befriend them," to say nothing of other 
insinuations of the same kind. I have already pointed out how 
waitresses are utilized as bait in certain taverns, etc. Let us 
cite a few figures: 

About 80 per cent, of the prostitutes in Paris have some 
occupation besides prostitution. 

In factories, shops, etc., the average wage of men is 4 francs 
20. per day; that of women 2 francs 20. ; but in domestic service 
it is only 2 francs 10. for men and 1 franc 10., or even 90 centimes 
for women, even where the latter do the same work ! Is it to be 
wondered that they have recourse to prostitution? 

High -class Brothels. — In these establishments the life of the 
prostitute is much more agi'eeable : the goods of superior quality 
demanded by rich and fastidious clients requires better treatment 
and special care. I vdW cite a case published in the annual report 
of the Societe de Pestalozzi (for cruelty to children) at Vienna : 

"In October, 1904, the Tyrolean Society for Abandoned In- 
fancy sent us the papers of a young Tyrolean girl of eighteen, who 
was found at Venice under police control. Our attention was 
drawn to the youth of this girl and the incapacity of the father 
to induce her to reform. We were requested to restore her, if 
possible, to an honest life. 

We made the usual inquiries. Having many brothers and 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 311 

sisters, this girl, at the age of fourteen, obtained a situation at 
Innsbruck, where she was badly treated. She went away and 
gave herself gradually to prostitution, latterly at Vienna. 

We had an interview with her at our office and ascertained that 
she had experienced ill-treatment at Innsbruck. She had a 
modest demeanor and made a good impression. She regarded 
her future with equanimity, admitting that she was excluded 
from society, but speaking of her trade as seriously as if it was 
licit and officially recognized. 

She assured us that her parents, having great difficulty in gain- 
ing a livelihood, agreed with her in her choice of a " business." She 
was on very good terms with them and sent them money. 

To obtain a certificate from the police, the consent of her 
parents was necessary. Her mother had told her that if she re- 
mained pious and honest no one could reproach her. She held 
"Madame" (the proprietress of the brothel) in high esteem, on 
account of her kind treatment of her "boarders." The house in 
which she was located was first-class, both as regards clients and 
treatment. There were about a dozen young girls there, most of 
them younger than herself, all with their parents' consent; and 
many of them sent home what they earned. 

She said that her companions were very happy, being well fed 
and clothed, and earning from 120 to 240 crowns a month. With 
much ingenuousness she told us how Madame, whom she greatly 
respected, had looked after two old "boarders," who no longer 
had any clients. She also had a protector. 

We tried to induce her to commence another fife, promising 
her a situation, but she refused, saying that even if she wished to 
do so Madame would not let her go; besides, she would always 
be reproached for her past life, and she did not wish to live with 
people who would always despise her. She had already suffered 
enough trouble and did not wish to launch on the unknown. 
Moreover, she had lost her former habits and had never learnt 
anything seriously. In short, she did not wish to give up her 
pleasant and comfortable life! 

This conversation led us to the conclusion that the case in ques- 
tion was not of a nature to justify any action on the part of our 
society for the rescue of young women. 

In spite of her tender age, this girl gave us the impression of 
mature judgment. It appeared already much too late to attempt 
to recommence her education. She also showed signs of great 
anxiety when we spoke to her of leaving her brothel. 



312 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

This case requires no comment; it gives a good idea of our 
social condition. The rehgious piety of this girl, and her pro- 
found veneration for "Madame," are typical of the deviation 
of moral sense by the suggestion of environment. 

Varieties in Prostitutes. — We thus see that prostitutes con- 
stitute a collection of very different individuals. Although it 
may be true that, on the average, their ranks are recruited from 
girls who are coarse, shameless, depraved and alcoholic, it is 
no less false to conclude that all are of bad heredity. A con- 
siderable number are pathological individuals, including hys- 
terical subjects, nymphomaniacs and other psychopaths. Others 
again are naturally amoral, stupid, idle and deceitful, or have 
been accustomed to vicious surroundings from infancy; or else 
they are of an absolutely indifferent and apathetic nature, or 
very suggestible and yielding to every seduction and external 
impulse. The latter perhaps form the largest contingent, 
because they most easily become the prey of proxenetism. 

Many of them have fallen by seduction. Ashamed of their 
first error, and not having the courage to bear the consequences, 
they gradually sink into the swamp of prostitution. Illegitimate 
births play a great part here. 

A certain class of prostitutes ply their trade simply from 
poverty and want, being ashamed of it but profiting by it to 
maintain their family. But poverty acts cliiefly in combination 
with other causes. 

There still remains a very limited group formed by individuals " 
who give themselves up to prostitution for love of it. These are 
generally women with a morbid and violent sexual appetite, 
joined to want of moral sense. Rich women, even countesses 
and princesses have been kno'^m to become prostitutes. 

This diversity among prostitutes explains why there are 
different degrees in prostitution. Although its depravity is 
often more or less masked by fine clothes and good cheer, the 
lowest level is represented by the girl of the brothels, who is 
little more than an instrument for coitus in the hands of prox- 
enetism (with the exception of certain high-class brothels). It 
is the prostitutes of low-class brothels for soldiers who lead the 
most miserable Hfe. Such houses only keep refuse merchandise. 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 313 

i.e., old prostitutes who are no good for anything else. There is 
no sadder sight than a soldiers' brothel. 

The prostitution in cafes, scent shops, glove shops, etc., con- 
stitutes a slightly higher grade. As regards danger of venereal 
infection this is as great as anywhere, but the girls are rather 
more independent and lead a more natural life. It is precisely 
because these places are not under legal protection, that the 
patrons or protectors of prostitutes cannot employ the terrorism 
of licensed proxenets. 

The free prostitutes of the streets are about on the same level. 
They are not dependent on proxenetism, but only on their pro- 
tector and proprietor, which is a trifle less degrading. What 
degrades them most of all is police inscription, obligatory medi- 
cal inspection, and the miserable system of solicitation on the 
pavement. It is necessary to have lost all feeling of modesty, 
and to possess a cynical audacity to become a street pros- 
titute. 

Prostitutes who only practice occasionally and have not the 
courage to sohcit, nor to be inscribed by the poHce, belong to 
a higher level. But in countries where regulation is in force 
they always run the risk of being arrested by the pohce and put 
on the inscription Hst. These private prostitutes constitute the 
intermediate stage between prostitution properly so-called, and 
venal concubinage, which we shall speak of later. 

The army of prostitutes is partly composed of pathological 
individuals. Alcohol and vicious habits increase their abnormal 
tendencies, so that their behavior leaves nothing wanting in the 
way of temper, impulsiveness, cynicism and insolence. This is 
seen every day in hospitals for venereal disease. As soon as a 
prostitute finds her physical condition improve after a few days 
in hospital, sexual abstinence arouses her appetite to such an 
extent that she indulges in lesbian love with her companions, or 
shows herself naked at the windows, etc. Some prostitutes of 
better quality suffer at first from the scandalous tone of the 
brothel, but they generally become used to it, and end with 
adopting it themselves. Honest women, infected accidentally 
or by their husbands, suffer martyrdom when they are sent to 
the venereal divisions of hospitals. 



314 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

The Fate of Prostitutes. — ^What becomes of prostitutes in the 
course of time? They cannot remain very long in the brothels 
for they only accept young and fine-looking girls. It would be 
interesting to follow the fate of all these women. At all events 
nothing is more absurd than the common saying that the sup- 
pression of brothels increases prostitution in the streets, and 
that their introduction suppresses it. It is obvious that, as the 
women in brothels have to be continually renewed, they must 
be continually thrown onto the streets. No doubt many pros- 
titutes die at an early age from the results of alcohol and syphilis. 
The only resource left to many, when they are -ejected from the 
brothels, is to solicit in the streets or to join clandestine brothels 
or taverns of the same nature. 

The most profligate, those who look upon their profession from 
the artistic or the commercial points of view, know how to advance 
themselves and become "Madames"; but these are compara- 
tively few in number. Some end in suicide or lunatic asylums. 

As a last resource, when no man will have anything to do 
with them, many of them take to the lowest occupations, such 
as cleaning lavatories, etc. At Munich it used to be proverbial 
that the class of "Radiweiber" and "Nussweiber" (old women 
selling nuts etc., at the street corners) were mostly recruited 
from old prostitutes. Occasionally a better class prostitute 
succeeds in getting married. 

If we consider without prejudice the miserable life of a pros- 
titute, we cannot hear the term "fdle de joie" without a feeling 
of sadness and indignation, for it conveys such bitter and tragic 
irony. If we could ourselves experience the true state of mind 
which is hidden behind the smiles and songs of so many miserable 
singers at cafe concerts, and behind the brazen artifices of many 
prostitutes; if we could learn their past life and the cause of 
their fall, no man with a spark of pity or sympathy for his fel- 
lows could relish with a light heart a "joy" bought at such a 
price. For those who read German, I recommend on this sub- 
ject: Tagehuch einer Verlornen, hy Ma,vguer\te Bohme. (Berlin: 
Fontane, 1905.) 

Prostitution and Sexual Perversion. — If it is true that many 
prostitutes have a pathological heredity, it is still more sure that 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 315 

they often have to submit to the fancies of pathological cHents. 
The numerous sexual anomalies, of which we have spoken in 
Chapter VIII, are closely connected with prostitution. The 
refinement of modern civilization is so complete that it sup- 
plies localities and women for the special use of each pathological 
form of the sexual appetite. 

So far we have only spoken of female prostitutes, and we have 
seen how they conform to the customs of sadists, masochists, etc. 
They allow themselves to be maltreated by the former, and 
maltreat the latter; or else they play at exhibitions symbolical 
of cruelty or humiliation. 

For male inverts, on the other hand, there exist male brothels, 
in which young boys practice pederasty for money. For certain 
rich roues, or for those affected with pederosis, children are kept. 
This last class of goods is very dear, for there is always a risk of 
the law intervening. Young virgins also fetch a high price; 
and they even try to sew up the hymen after their defloration, 
so as to offer them several times as virgins! 

With what we have said in Chapter VIII, these indications 
will suffice to show that modern prostitution and proxenetism 
constitute a public disgrace, intended to exploit the unbridled 
desires of men for profit. This system has been defended on the 
grounds of hygiene and the protection of virtuous women against 
the assaults of men, etc. In reality, it has resulted in corrupting 
and effeminating men; in restricting the normal sexual inter- 
course of youth in its natural association with an inconsiderate 
love; in degrading love itself; in debarring a great number of 
capable and virtuous women from marriage, from love, and from 
sexual intercourse in general; lastly, in causing complete aber- 
ration of the whole sexual life of modern society. 

Contemporary literature has begun to consider the psychol- 
ogy of prostitution. We have already mentioned La Maison 
Tellier by de Maupassant; Zola's Nana is the history of a high- 
class prostitute related in the well-kno^\Ti reahstic manner 
of the celebrated novelist, in which he describes the sexual 
depravity existing in certain Parisian circles of the Second 
Empire. 

I will now make a few remarks concerning a social movement 



316 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

organized against the regulation of prostitution, called aboli- 
tionism. 

Abolitionism and Regulation. — An Englishwoman, Mrs. Joseph- 
ine Butler, undertook, in the name of liberty, a campaign 
against proxenetism, white slavery and the State regulation of 
prostitution. She also attacked the injustice of the Code Napo- 
leon toward women, especially the prohibition of inquiry into 
paternity, which throws girls who have been seduced into the 
arms of prostitution. The abolitionists contest the right of 
police inscription of prostitutes under the pretext of hygiene, 
of submitting them against their wall to medical , inspection, and 
of keeping them in brothels. They claim severe laws against 
proxenetism and oppose toleration. 

In medical circles the system of regulation has generally been 
defended. It is urged that society has the right to protect itself 
against dangerous infection, and that, with this object, it has 
as much right to treat infected prostitutes compulsorily, as 
those affected with smallpox or cholera. Owing to their shame- 
ful trade, they maintain that these women have lost all claim to 
special consideration. 

This argument appears very reasonable at first sight, but it 
takes quite a different aspect when the facts are examined more 
thoroughly. 

First of all the comparison with smallpox and cholera is 
illogical, for these diseases endanger the innocent public, while 
the man who makes use of prostitution is quite aware of the 
danger he runs. Society is under no obligation to provide 
healthy prostitutes for the use of Don Juan. 

Against this it is stated that innocent wdves are often infected 
and made to suffer for the sins of their husbands. But such an 
extensive blending of the State with family life does not appear 
to be admissible, and would lead to crying abuses. Society has 
neither the right nor the duty to facilitate the dangerous or 
injurious acts of certain individuals at the expense of others, 
by rendering them less dangerous, so that certain third parties 
may be less Uable to suffer. This is an absurd sophism. The 
duty of society is to make responsible the one who has committed 
the dangerous or injurious act, and to punish him if he has done 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 317 

harm. Here, on the contrary, one only of the culprits (the pros- 
titute) is compelled to keep to her vile trade, while the man 
who makes use of her, and often infects her, is free from any 
responsibility. Moreover, the State has no right to act against 
responsible persons under the pretext that their future senti- 
ments or actions would have dangerous consequences for others; 
this would lead to arbitrary abuse of power. The insane, and 
habitual criminals make the only exceptions, for their abnormal 
and irresponsible cerebral organization is a perpetual danger 
to society. 

There is one question, however, which arises: Can prostitu- 
tion in itself be regarded as a misdemeanor punishable by law? 
If this were the case, the client would have to be punished as 
well as the prostitute; or both of them be sent to reformatories. 
This is the only logical consequence, for in such cases the two 
contractors are equally guilty, and also equally dangerous as 
regards infection. 

How, therefore, can the system be justified which brands and 
inscribes the prostitute only; which is not content with tolerat- 
ing her vile trade instead of punishing it, but gives it official 
sanction, causing her to fall lower and lower; which finally, to 
crown the'work, licenses the proxenetism which exploits her vice? 
It is difficult to imagine more complete hypocrisy, or a more 
contradictory system. 

In former times when slavery was allowed, men's will and 
pleasure were sufficient to justify such measures, which created 
for their profit a class of female pariahs; and this was frankly 
and openly admitted. Nowadays, the equal rights of women 
which are officially recognized in civilized countries no longer 
allow it, and hygienic arguments only can give such modern 
barbarity the hypocritical appearance of justification. Luna- 
tics and criminals are only locked up as a measure of safety, 
and to attempt to improve them; but their bodies are not 
allowed to become an object of commerce for the pleasure of 
other members of society. 

But the results of honestly interpreted statistics contradict 
the apparent justification of the regulation of prostitution, in 
the name of hygiene. It is intended to furnish men with a 



318 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

means of coitus free from danger; but the facts prove that 
venereal disease has not been diminished by this means. The 
false security given to men officially by regulation makes them 
all the more careless. The multiplication of the sexual con- 
nections of each prostitute increases the danger of infection at 
least as much as the elimination of a few diseased persons 
diminishes it. 

The corruption of the State and its officials, especially the 
police and the medical inspectors of brothels, the general deprav- 
ity which results from official toleration, and the perversion of 
ideas of morality among the public, increase habits of prostitu- 
tion, and with it the danger of infection. Assured of impunity 
the pimps and their acolytes become more and more audacious 
and extend their business, while the prostitutes, whose number is 
increased by this system, seek to escape the police and practice 
their trade clandestinely. It is no wonder that the swamp to 
be purified becomes more and more infectious. Can it be con- 
scientiously said that hygiene has benefited? This is well seen 
in Geneva and in France. It is enough to compare the number 
of cases of venereal disease and of prostitutes in countries where 
regulation is in force, with those which do not employ it, to show 
the complete fiasco of the system from the hygienic point of 
view. On the average, the number of infectious cases is nearly 
the same with or without regulation and depends on many other 
causes. I cannot enter into the details here and must refer to 
the statistics and to the works published by the Abolitionist 
Federation (6 Rue St. Leger, Geneva). 

Of all that has been published, nothing appears to me more 
conclusive than the masterly statistics of Mounier, for Hol- 
land, in 1889. Even among medical men, the originators of 
regulation, the abolitionist point of view is steadily gaining 
ground. It is beginning to be understood that the toleration of 
proxenetism, and even the inscription and medical inspection 
of prostitutes, are vicious methods of social sanitation against 
venereal infection. 

But by the suppression of official toleration and regulation, 
the question of prostitution is in no way settled. This has only 
a negative action, important for the tactics of those who wish to 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 319 

upset a scandalous abuse, but which does not respond to the 
higher task of extirpating the root of the evil. The positive 
work will only begin when the State is relieved of its shameful 
compact with proxenetism and prostitution. 

In the following chapters we shall examine the remedies 
which must be applied to our sexual anarchy, the result of mas- 
culine autocracy, as Russian anarchy is the result of Tsarism. 
I will first make a few observations from the medical and hy- 
gienic point of view, to the partisans of regulation. They 
exclaim that the abolitionists are fanatics, who, from their 
absence of scientific spirit, will deluge society with venereal dis- 
ease. This bogy has no sound foundation. The State regula- 
tion of prostitution applied to certain women has not diminished 
the amount of venereal disease, because it does not reach it. 
The State concession of an unnatural vice cannot be hygienic. 
Moreover, it is impossible to completely disinfect prostitutes, 
this disinfection is quite illusory, unless it is also apphed to their 
clients, which is impracticable. 

In France, where the system of regulation has existed for a 
long time in its strictest form, venereal diseases are extremely 
prevalent; while in Switzerland, where it only exists at Geneva, 
having been suppressed for some years in the Canton of Zurich, 
they are less frequent. Geneva is not less contaminated than 
other towns in Switzerland, in spite of its model brothels, and 
Zurich has lately, by popular vote, confirmed abolition by a 
crushing majority, in opposition to a few interested persons who 
wished to reestablish the brothels under futile and fallacious 
pretexts. Some clandestine brothels still exist in towns where 
the authorities shut their eyes. 

It has also been maintained that the number of sexual mis- 
demeanors would increase with the suppression of brothels. 
This is another illusion. The majority of sexual misdemeanors 
are due to psychic anomalies (Chapter VIII) or to the effects of 
alcoholic intoxication. If they have any relation to prostitu- 
tion, it is rather that of being favored by its orgies. 

Remedies for the Evil. — What is wanted first of all are severe 
laws against proxenetism. It is indisputable that commerce 
made with the body of one's neighbor is illegal, even when the 



320 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

latter gives consent. It is a crime or misdemeanor which should 
be prosecuted hke negro slavery or usury. We should not wait 
for a complaint to be lodged, but prosecute proxenetism offi- 
cially, for the victims are hindered by shame from coming for- 
ward. The pimps of proxenetism are recruited from the dregs 
of society. In this domain, as in the others, penal law should 
not be put in force; the object should be the protection of 
society and the improvement of the criminal. 

As regards prostitution itself, it cannot be made a misde- 
meanor without opening the door too widely to complete arbi- 
trariness. The State cannot prevent a responsible adult from 
disposing of his own body, without introducing rehgion and 
metaphysics into legislation; but the State can require those 
who practice prostitution not to molest the public. It has, 
therefore, the right to punish solicitation in the streets by fine 
or imprisomnent, especially in often repeated offenses. It can 
also give persons of both sexes, who are victims of venereal dis- 
ease, the right of claiming damages by ci\dl law. The legality of 
this right of indemnity has been much contested. In my opin- 
ion it is legitimate when the State no longer tolerates or regulates 
prostitution; but so long as it does this, and submits prostitutes 
to obligatory medical treatment, the States takes the respon- 
sibility of their health. Under the regime of regulation, an 
infected person could logically claim damages from the State, 
or, at any rate from the pimps of licensed proxenetism. 

The question of responsibility is quite different when prosti- 
tution is free. The sexual intercourse of a free prostitute with 
a man may be regarded as a private contract in which each 
party has the same rights and obligations. If one of the tw^o 
contractors deceives the other by concealing venereal disease, 
the latter has the right to claim damages, if there is sufficient 
proof of infection from this source. 

The right of indemnity does not, however, constitute the 
principal point. In order to successfully combat prostitution 
and venereal disease, fundamental social reforms are nec- 
essary. 

(1). First of aU the system of exploitation of the poor by the 
rich should be put an end to, the work of the poor being remu- 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 321 

nerated at its true value. This requires a social transformation 
of the relations between capital and labor. 

(2). The use of narcotics, and especially alcohol, should be 
suppressed. 

(3). The false modesty concerning sexual intercourse should 
be done away with. 

(4). The public should be instructed in the dangers of venereal 
disease and in the means of preventing contamination. The 
only certain means of curing them consists in not contracting 
them. 

(5). Cleanliness should be universally encouraged, especially 
in sexual intercourse. 

(6) . Preventive measures should be employed in every coitus, 
the object of which is not procreation. 

(7). The treatment of venereal diseases in hospitals should 
be carried out in a decent and humane manner, so as not to 
shock the modesty of either sex, especially women, and so that 
patients need not be ashamed of submitting to medical treat- 
ment. Nowadays the venereal divisions of hospitals often more 
resemble brothels. This state of things makes it impossible for 
any woman with a particle of modesty to stay in these places. 
It is evident that women w4io are more or less virtuous, and even 
the better class of prostitutes, will avoid such hospital treat- 
ment as much as possible, and will thereby become the worst 
sources of infection. 

By treating venereal disease in hospital with more regard for 
decency and modesty, by abolishing the brand of shame, and by 
separating patients according to their behavior, we might suc- 
ceed in improving a state of things which is often unbearable. 
Patients with venereal diseases would then more willingly sub- 
mit to hospital treatment and would be more easily cured. In 
Italy much progress has already been made in this direction. 

In conclusion, I am convinced that if we should be contented 
for the present with damming up prostitution and suppressing 
the causes which render prostitutes more and mm-e abject, 
without yet being able to abolish the whole evil, a transforma- 
tion of our social life, and especially the suppression of the 
reign of capital as a means of exploitation of the work of others, 



322 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

and suppression of the use of alcoholic drinks, would eventually 
succeed in the gradual extinction of prostitution and the sub- 
stitution of concubinage, which has much less evil results. 

VENAL CONCUBINAGE 

Venal concubinage occupies an intermediate position between 
prostitution and concubinage. It is distinguished from the 
latter by the fact that it is remunerated; but the distinction is 
very fine. 

Lorettes. — This is an old term which may be applied to paid 
women who are not regular prostitutes. It is hardly possible 
to distinguish them from clandestine prostitutes (not on the 
police inscription). They are women who do not practice 
solicitation or sell themselves to the first comer, but generally 
keep to one man for a time. 

Grisettes. — The Parisian grisette, whose type has become clas- 
sic, is a higher class of woman who, at any rate in her primitive 
simplicity, was not wanting in romance. Relations ^dth a 
grisette may be compared to limited and free marriage, in which 
there is comparative fidelity. 

Like some of the free prostitutes, the grisette does not live 
only on the support of her lover. She is often a dressmaker or 
a shop-girl, and makes arrangements with a lover so as to live 
more comfortably. 

When the grisette acts as her lover's housekeeper and lives 
with him on terms of the closest intimacy, the liaison takes a 
more serious character and there is a certain degree of affection 
or even love. However, all these concubinages are generally 
limited to a few weeks or months, so that the natural love of the 
woman becomes blunted by successive polyandry. It is always 
more or less a question of "an accessory business." 

There are all kinds of lorettes and grisettes, but as a rule they 
are generally attached to small tradesmen, students, working- 
men, etc., rather than to rich men. It is a kind of contract for 
a limited period. This system is very ^videspread in large towns, 
where the inhabitants do not interfere with each other's affairs; 
but is difficult to manage in small towns, where every one knows 
everybody. 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 323 

Mistresses. — These may be called the aristocrats of the species. 
Here we see more distinctly the transition from venal love to 
free concubinage based on mutual love. The hetaira of the an- 
cient Greeks (vide Chapter VI) corresponded more or less to 
the modern mistresses, especially to the intelligent mistresses 
of men in high positions. In certain respects we may say that 
George Sand, for example, was a hetaira from pure love, while 
among the Greek hetaira money played a gi-eat part. Some 
mistresses are paid; others Hve on terms of equality with their 
lovers; others again maintain their lovers. We must also dis- 
tinguish between mistresses who live with married men, and 
those who live with bachelors. 

The most typical case is that where a bachelor who wishes to 
remain free takes a mistress, whom he also makes mistress of 
his house, and who thus becomes an illegitimate wife who may 
separate from him when it pleases her. Some women contract 
this kind of union without being actually paid, simply for their 
maintenance, in return for which they do the housework. Here 
there is no actual sale of the body. The contract may be indefi- 
nite or limited. In such cases the effect of money on the atti- 
tude of the man toward his mistress is evident; his tone is gen- 
erally less respectful toward paid mistresses than toward those 
who are not paid. The love of the paid mistress is httle more 
durable or more intense than that of the grisette, the situation 
being almost the same. 

Zola's Nana prostituted herself regularly with rich men: 
secondly, she was the mistress of Fontan, who plays the part of 
a high-class protector; thirdly, she fell in love with Georges in 
quite an idyllic fashion. Bordenave, the manager, had good 
reason in wishing his theater to be called a brothel, as he was 
more of a pimp than a theatrical manager. This example, a 
httle far-fetched, shows how ideas pass from one to another m 
this elastic domain. ' 

There are also married mistresses. The position of mistress 
to a married man is, on the whole, more delicate than that of 
mistress to a bachelor. We are only concerned here with paid 
mistresses. They seldom give themselves to married men ex- 
cept when the home life of the latter is more or less disorganized; 



324 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

when the husband is separated from the wife, or when he hves 
in open w^arfare with her. A married man, on the contrary, 
may secretly visit brothels or private prostitutes, often even 
with his wife's knowledge, because the prostitute can have no 
influence in family affairs. This reason has even been used for 
the defense of prostitution. It is true that married men often 
have connection with other women, and the term mistress has 
been applied to the women who take part in this intercourse, 
whether they or their lover, or both of them, are already married. 
But in this case money is usually only a secondary consider- 
ation, when the households concerned are not broken up. It 
is often only the maneuver of an intriguer who tries to separate 
a husband from his wife to marry him herself and monopolize 
his fortune. It is sufficient to show how difficult it often is 
to distinguish the paid mistress from the woman who does not 
give herself from interest but from passion, or from the intrig- 
uing adventuress who tries to make a good catch. 

Lorettes, grisettes and paid mistresses seldom have children. 
These women are more rarely infected with venereal diseases 
than prostitutes, but they are better acquainted with the meth- 
ods of preventing conception. 

The fate of the children of venal concubines is generally very 
sad. They are not the fruits of love but of a sexual union based 
on idleness and lewdness. If conception occurs in spite of all 
precautions, artificial abortion is attempted, or if this fails the 
child is sent to the "baby farmer," who gets rid of it. The 
women who dispose of their children in this way are often of the 
better class; common prostitutes often love and take care of 
their children, while the young ladies of society generally try 
and get rid of their illegitimate children, because they are much 
more compromised. Some married women even do not hesitate 
to perform abortion when a child inconveniences them. 

We have only mentioned the fourth gi'oup of women with 
which we are concerned, because of its mercantile nature. Every 
union in which a human being gives love for money is unnatural. 
Venal love is not true love, but an improper contract between 
man and woman, with the object of satisfying the sexual appe- 
tite, without any regard to the higher object intended by nature. 



SEXUAL QUESTION IN RELATION TO PROPERTY 325 

It sometimes happens that similar contracts are made in the 
inverse direction, when a nymphomaniacal woman purchases a 
fine young man, under some pretext or other. Inverts also pay 
boys to satisfy their perverted appetites. 

However unsavory may be the contents of the present chap- 
ter, it was necessary to write it in order to give a clear idea of 
the subject. Under the pretense of virtue venal love has too 
long been covered with a veil of hypocrisy. Prostitution, mar- 
riage for money and venal concubinage are, each in its way, 
elements of corruption and decadence which, combined with 
alcohol, gambling, speculation, the greed for money and pleasure 
in general, threaten our modern culture with ruin. Among these 
anomalies, the State organization of prostitution being the most 
monstrous, it is necessary to begin with its suppression. 

Among the ancients, the goddess Venus or Aphrodite was the 
symbol of beauty and love. Although somewhat sly, she 
was fecund, full of desire and charm, and embodied not only the 
natural aspirations of man, but also his artistic ideal. Nowa- 
days, she is dragged in the mire by two false gods — Bacchus, 
who makes a gross and vulgar brute of her, and Mammon, who 
transforms her into a venal prostitute — while a hypocritical 
religious asceticism, endeavors in vain to confine her in a strait- 
waistcoat. May the progress of science and culture find the 
power to deliver her from the tyranny of her two infamous 
companions, deified by human ignorance and bestiality. Then 
only will the goddess of love appear in all her glory! 



CHAPTER XI 

THE INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 

However strong may be the hereditary sexual instincts which 
an individual has inherited by phylogeny from his ancestors, 
and however violent their internal outbreaks in his ontogeny, 
it is necessary to recognize that an organism so complicated as 
that of man is capable of adapting itself to its environment to a 
remarkable and varied degree, and that consequently external 
influences react strongly on the sexual appetite. We will now 
examine these influences, so far as they are not dealt with in 
other chapters. 

Influence of Climate. — Warm climates appear to excite the 
intensity of sexual life; man matures more quickly and is more 
disposed to sexual excess. I am not aware of other influences 
that can be attributed to climate. It is, moreover, possible that 
the direct influence of heat has been confounded with the indirect 
action it exerts in the conditions of human existence. In cold 
countries life is more laborious, and this diminishes the inten- 
sity of the sexual appetite. In warm countries man has not so 
much concern with dweUings, clothes and heating; life is greatly 
simplified, and this freedom from anxiety inclines him to greater 
sexual activity. 

Town and Country. Isolation. Sociability. Life in Factories. 
— The social relations of man exert a great influence on sexual 
life. Hermits and those who live on isolated farms are interest- 
ing in this respect. Solitude generally leads man to chronic 
melancholia and to abnormal peculiarities, unless he has a library 
in his hermitage, when he may live in the spirit of the intellectual 
sociability derived from the study of books. 

It is quite otherwise with one who has no intellectual occupa- 
tion, or one who has lived in solitude from infancy. In this case 
the hermit becomes a kind of savage, without any intellectual 

326 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LITE 327 

development, and reverts more or less to the state of primitive 
man. 

An adult who establishes himself in solitude without providing 
himself with intellectual capital becomes strongly inclined to 
depressing psychoses. This is observed among the isolated farm- 
ers, according to Professor Seguin, of New York. The man who 
lives alone, or surrounded only by the members of his family 
becomes disposed to certain sexual anomahes, such as incest, 
sodomy and masturbation. 

It is among the agricultural population that we meet with 
the most normal sexual relations and the best hygiene. The 
French Canadians form a good example, and it is the same gen- 
erally where agriculture is practiced by independent peasants, 
not alcoholized, and having divided property. Agricultural 
families generally procreate more children and healthier ones 
than urban families. No doubt modern medical hygiene, both 
public and private, has made so much progress in towTis that 
there may be, at a certain age, proportionally more living chil- 
dren than in the country; but the country children are of 
stronger constitution and more healthy in every way. 

I had the opportunity of confirming this opinion wliile I was 
superintendent of a lunatic asylum for many years. I found 
it was impossible to recruit from the town a good staff of nurses 
of either sex. 

The inhabitant of towms, it is true, learns his work more 
quickly, but he lacks patience, perseverance and character, and 
soon shows himself wanting in the accomplishment of his physi- 
cal and moral duties. The countryman, on the contrary, is at 
first slow and clumsy, but soon becomes more capable and care- 
ful, and more amenable to education. This shows that, on the 
average, the hereditary dispositions of the country-bred child 
are better than those of the town-bred child. The latter de- 
velops more rapidly and more completely his natural disposi- 
tions, owing to social intercourse, while the country-bred child, 
although he appears at first sight less intelhgent, is really better 
endowed on the average than the town child. The superficial 
observer is easily deceived, but country life accumulates more 
reserve force in the organism than urban life. 



328 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Sexual excesses in the country are more conformable to 
nature. Apart from marriage, we meet with concubinage, infi- 
delity, and sometimes prostitution, but these excesses are never 
widely spread in small places where every one knows each other. 
An extensive study of the alcohol question has shown me that 
hereditary degenerations and sexual evils in the country are 
principally due to alcoholism and its blastophthoria (vide Chap- 
ter I). But when factories, mining industries, etc., create 
unhealthy conditions in the country, the evil influences of urban 
life are implanted there, often in a still higher degree. 

The society of large towns is made up of many different cir- 
cles, who have little or no relations with each other, do not know 
each other, and seldom concern themselves about each other. 
The individual is only known in his own circle. This circum- 
stance favors the increase of vice and depravity. In addition 
to this, the insanitary dwelhngs, the life of excitement and in- 
numerable pleasures, all tend to produce a restless and unnatural 
existence. The best conditions of existence for man are con- 
tact with nature, air and Hght, sufficient physical exercise com- 
bined with steady work for the brain, which requires exercise 
as much as the other organs; this is just what is wanting among 
the poor, in the town and in the factory. Instead of this they 
are offered unhealthy nocturnal pleasures and a prostitution 
which spreads itself everywhere with all the dangerous effects 
we have described. The result is that they become incapable 
of nourishing and raising their children properly, often even of 
procreating them in healthy and natural love. 

Such are the conditions of the lower classes in large towns. 
Along with prostitution, venereal disease and alcohol, the 
wretched dwellings in many places lead to infamous promiscuity. 
In factories and mines things are still worse. In these places 
there is a swarm of people continually engaged in most unhealthy 
occupations, and only leaving their work to indulge in the most 
repugnant sexual excesses. The rapacity, frivolity and luxury 
of society lead to alcoholism, poverty, promiscuity and prostitu- 
tion among the lower classes and cause complete degeneration 
of entire industrial populations. 

In the Canton of Zurich I have had the opportunity of closely 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 329 

observing the physical and moral effects of this degeneration. 
The individuals most incapable as hospital attendants were 
always factory hands. These wretched beings were generally 
so atrophied in body and mind that they were no use for any- 
thing except the weaving of silk and cotton. In the large 
English towns, such as Liverpool, and among the population of 
certain mining districts in Belgium, I have met with even worse 
degeneration of the human species. Modesty, morality and 
health are destroyed in this swarming human mass — dirty, 
anaemic, tuberculous, rickety, imbecile, or hysterical — and 
there is no distinction between the factory girl and the prosti- 
tute. In certain Belgian districts which are a prey to alcoholism, 
one sometimes sees human beings copulating in the streets like 
animals, or like the drunken Kafhrs in South Africa. What can 
we expect from the descendants of a population so completely 
degenerate? Marriage and even concubinage among peasants 
is golden in comparison! 

I will now draw attention to a contemporary phenomenon of 
the greatest interest. The immense development of means of 
transport, combined with progress in the sanitation of dwellings, 
favors the transportation of town to country and country to 
town. This brings together the two modes of human life, and 
in this I see the dawn of salvation in the future. The modern 
towns of North America, thanks to the great extension of their 
territory, already resemble the country to a great extent, each 
house being surrounded by a garden. The electric tramways 
shorten distances and facilitate this manner of building towns. 
As means of communication become still more simphfied and 
cheapened, the advantages of country Ufe will be joined to those 
of the town without suffering from the promiscuity of the latter. 
The disadvantages of country life consist in atrophy of the intel- 
lectual dispositions from want of contact; improvement in 
means of transport will bring this contact to the country. The 
result of such distribution of the territory of a civilized state, 
such as I have in view, might be called an Agropolis—Sin urban- 
ized country or a countrified town. It would then be possible 
to live a life more ideal in human sentiments, and healthier as 
regards material and sexual matters. 



330 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

The state of the countryman or peasant is advantageous for 
marriage, not only because it does not offer such a suitable soil 
for prostitution, but because the danger of venereal disease is 
diminished, and the procreation of healthy offspring favors con- 
jugal happiness and constancy in sexual union. From the reli- 
gious point of view, the freedom in sexual intercourse which 
prevails among country people before marriage is looked upon 
as immoral; but this is a natural phenomenon similar to the 
"marriage by trial" of certain savage races, or the "hand- 
fasting" of the Scotch people, of which we have spoken in Chap- 
ter VI. People who tolerate and defend prostitution should be 
ashamed of their hypocrisy and of the manner in which they 
distort morality, when in the same breath they reproach peas- 
ants with their natural but illegitimate unions. 

It is needless to say that other causes of degeneration may 
exist in the country as well as in towns; for instance, certain 
endemic diseases, such as myxoedema and malaria, the brutish 
life of certain tribes, perpetuation of degeneracy by consan- 
guineous unions, etc. 

The worst state is certainly that of the proletariat of large 
towns, which is generally associated with crime. In the com- 
munity of pimps, criminals and decadents in general, is consti- 
tuted a special social outlook, which regards the greatest scamp 
in the light of a hero. When a child shows a precocious criminal 
disposition it is looked upon in these circles as a child of much 
promise. Honest and virtuous children are considered in this 
society as imbeciles, or even as traitors and spies, and are con- 
sequently despised, hated and ill-treated. The deleterious in- 
fluences we have mentioned do not act alone, but are often asso- 
ciated with other factors in causing degeneration of the sexual 
life. When other influences preponderate, we may sometimes 
observe depravity in the country, and on the contrary, healthy 
and normal conditions in certain towns. We must always avoid 
exaggerating the importance of a single factor in making 
generalizations. Certain country villages, the inhabitants of 
which have become alcoholized and degraded, may present 
a much more unhealthy sexual life than certain sober and 
well-governed towns. 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 331 

Vagabondage.— In the Archiv filr Rassen und Gesellschafts 
hiologie of 1905 (Ai'chives of the biology of races and of society), 
Doctor Jorger relates the history of the descendants of a couple 
of vagabonds, which he carefully studied for several genera- 
tions. Nearly all the members of this family became vagabonds, 
thieves, prostitutes, and other society pests. Vain attempts 
were made to give a good education to some of them, but they 
ran away from school to lead the lives of vagabonds or criminals. 
In a few of them only, education gave some results, but not at 
all brilhant. In this family, alcohoHsm and its blastophthoria 
played a considerable part. 

We can hardly admit that the mnemic phenomena explained 
in Chapter I could have acted appreciably in two or three hun- 
dred years, a period much too short for the human species. No 
doubt the common ancestor of the above family of vagabonds 
descended from a family of vagabonds. I do not, however, 
think I am wi'ong in attributing to blastophthoria, superposed 
on the disastrous combinations of germs which is inevitable in 
the life of vagabonds, the principal cause of this typical degenera- 
tion of the family, a degeneration in which sexual degradation 
strongly predominates, I recommend Doctor Jorger's work to 
any one interested in this question. It would be useful to draw 
up genealogical tables, with the medical and psychological 
descriptions of the whole population of a small town. 

Americanism. — By this term I designate an unhealthy fea- 
ture of sexual life, common among the educated classes of the 
United States, and apparently originating in the gi'eed for 
dollars, which is more prevalent in North America than any- 
where else. I refer to the unnatural hfe which Americans lead, 
and more especially to its sexual aspect. 

The true American citizen despises agi'icultural work and 
manual labor in general, especially for women. His aim is to 
centralize labor by means of machinery and commerce, so as to 
concern himself only with business, intellectual occupations and 
sport. American women consider muscular work and labor in 
the country as degrading to their sex. This is a relic of the days 
of slavery, when all manual labor was left to negroes, and is so 
to a great extent at the present day. 



332 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Desirous of remaining young and fresh as long as possible, 
fearing the dangers and troubles of childbirth and the bringing- 
up of children, the American woman has an increasing aversion 
to pregnancy, childbirth, suckling and the rearing of large 
families. 

Since the emancipation of negroes has caused doi^jestic ser- 
vants in the United States to become expensive luxuries, family 
life has been to a great extent replaced by life in hotels and 
boarding-houses, and this has furnished another reason for avoid- 
ing conception and large families. 

It is evident that this form of emancipation of women is abso- 
lutely deleterious and that it leads to degeneration, if not to 
extinction of the race. The mixed Aiyan (European) race of 
North America will diminish and become gradually extinguished, 
even without emigration, and will soon be replaced by Chinese 
or negroes. It is necessary for woman to labor as well as 
man, and she ought not to avoid the fulfillment of her natural 
position. Eveiy race which does not understand this necessity 
ends in extinction. A woman's ideal ought not to consist in 
reading novels and lolling in rocking chairs, nor in working only 
in offices and shops, so as to preserve her delicate skin and gi'ace- 
ful figure. She ought to develop herself strongly and healthily 
by working along with man in body and mind, and by procreat- 
ing numerous children, when she is strong, robust and intelli- 
gent. But this does not nullify the advantage that may 
accrue from limiting the number of conceptions, when the 
bodily and mental qualities are wanting in the procreators. 

Saloons and Alcohol. — I desire to draw attention once more 
to the evil influence of saloons and bars. The drink habit cor- 
rupts the whole of sexual life. It is the origin of the most hid- 
eous forms of prostitution and proxenetism, and leads to the se- 
duction of girls. I must mention again the barmaids whose 
business it is to attract customers by exciting their sexual 
desire, at the same time exploiting themselves by prostitution. 
These saloons are dens of iniquity in which alcohol and prosti- 
tution are inextricably confounded. In Germany they have 
become a veritable social plague. 

Drink makes men and women not only gross and sensual, but 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 333 

also negligent, imprudent and irreflective. The saloon takes 
men from their homes, and drink directly diminishes the popu- 
lation. This is seen in Russia by comparing the abstainers with 
the drinkers, the former being much more fecund. The sta- 
tistics of Doctor Bezzola show that a single drinking bout may 
have a blastophthoric effect. From this and from other causes 
result the deplorable consequences of coitus which takes place 
during drunkenness.* 

Wealth and Poverty. — While in former civihzations the rich 
man regarded a multiplicity of wives and children as a condition 
or cause of his wealth and also as its result, in our modern civili- 
zation the number of children diminishes with the increase of 
prosperity. Children have ceased to be as formerly a source of 
wealth; on the contrary, they occasion much expense for their 
education. Again, the higher the social position of woman the 
more she fears pregnancy. Her life of ease makes her weaker 
and more delicate, so that she becomes less fit for the procreation 
of children. This phenomenon is an unhealthy product of cul- 
ture and reaches a truly pathological degree in America. 

We have mentioned marriage for money, which is the prosti- 
tution of the rich, and poverty, which is one of the causes of 
common prostitution, and we have seen how money influences 
sexual intercourse. We may now state the general principle that 
a mediocrity living in comfortable circumstances without imme- 
diate daily wants, under good hygienic conditions, but requiring 
a man to work for his living, constitutes the best condition 
both for a healthy sexual life and for health and happiness in 
general. This is the aurea mediocritas, or modest competence, 
the excellence of which was recognized by the ancients. 

The sexuahty of the rich man degenerates by luxury, com- 
fort, excess and idleness, and by the fact that he is already 
satiated in his youth. That of the poor man is no less degen- 
erate, owing to bad food, unhealthy dwellings, neglected educa- 
tion, and by vicious example which at the opposite extreme, 
resembles in many points that of the rich man; the exploiter 
and the exploited meeting in the dens of vice. Such is the case 

*Vide "Alkoholvergiftung und Degeneration" by Bunge: Leipzig 1904; 
and " Hygiene of the Nerves and Mind " by Forel: Stuttgart 1905. 



334 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

with gambling hells, with dens for prostitution and sexual 
anomalies, where the poor blackmail the rich, while the latter 
in theh capacity as social exploiters help to maintain poverty 
and prostitution. 

Money makes sexual intercourse unnatural ; in place of letting 
coitus take its natural course, it makes it an object of amuse- 
ment and pleasure, and also of speculation, and it debases the 
bodies of wTetched girls by making them objects of commerce. 

Unfortunately, the increasing facility of obtaining money 
without working for it, due to civihzation, not only corrupts the 
sexual Ufe of the wealthy and the poverty stricken, but has the 
same effect on the middle classes. A healthy and normal sexual 
life must be associated wdth honest and arduous work. We have 
already remarked that the solution of the sexual question de- 
pends partly on the suppression of alcoholic drink. We may 
add that another side of the question depends on the extirpation 
of the greed for money. If human beings could work for the 
social welfare without private interest, sexual relations would 
soon take their natural course. But it must be admitted that 
it is difficult to find a practical solution for the problem of social 
economy. 

Rank and Social Position. — Class distinction and social posi- 
tion have always played a part in sexual life. This is especially 
the case where certain class customs and prejudices prescribe 
a special code for marriage. The consanguinity of the nobifity 
and of royal famihes, who can only marry among themselves, 
has resulted in obvious degeneration. Originally there was the 
desire to preserve the purity of noble blood, and rules formu- 
lated with this object at first had some success; but in the long 
run the exclusiveness of such selection produces degeneration of 
the group which puts it into practice. 

On the other hand, the severe rules which govern marriages 
among the nobility have resulted in driving the latter to extra- 
nuptial sexual intercourse. In their sexual excesses, the nobil- 
ity, and even crowned heads, seldom amuse themselves with 
honest and \irtuous girls of the working classes, but more gen- 
erally with actresses of loose morals, dancing girls, and hysterical 
sirens and adventuresses of aU kinds, so long as they are pretty. 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 335 

Since the time of the feudal system, the nobility, having lost its 
real reason for existence, only lives on its traditions. It re- 
mains in general in a state of idle depravity, faithful to its old 
traditions, except when it has succeeded in adapting itseK to 
the work of modern hfe. It has, in fact, preserved the vices of 
its ancestors rather than their virtues. 

The more than doubtful offspring of extra-nuptial intercourse 
among the nobihty have often been adopted or raised to the 
nobility. Moreover, kings and princes have often ennobled 
unworthy persons who had succeeded in pandering to their 
follies or exciting their sexual passions. It is, therefore, not to 
be wondered at if in the offspring of such unions, the blood of 
the highest nobility is tainted with that of the worst kinds of 
heredity. 

Another sign or effect of the degeneration of the nobility is 
found in the marriages they so often contract with wealthy 
heiresses, often of mediocre quality, in order to repair their 
escutcheon. In the Middle Ages, the nobility regarded it as 
degrading to work for their living, and this prejudice accelerated 
their degeneration; for nowadays the heroic and chivalrous 
deeds of the Middle Ages have little opportunity for their per- 
formance. 

Other social classes present certain sexual peculiarities; for 
example the disastrous consequences of celibacy among the 
Catholic priests. This excludes an important and intelligent 
portion of the species from reproduction, and also favors clan- 
destine debauchery. 

The army and navy also exert a detrimental action on sexual 
life. First of all they foster one of the lowest forms of prosti- 
tution; soldiers' women are proverbial, and one of them alone 
may infect a whole regiment. In the second place, the absence 
of normal sexual intercourse favors all kinds of perversion, such 
as pederasty, masturbation, etc. The abominable sexual hfe of 
soldiers and sailors corrupts them to such an extent that when 
they marry later on they come to their wives with filthy habits, 
to say nothing of syphilis and gonorrhea. The result is the 
procreation of offspring who are more or less tainted in body 
and mind by the effects of venereal disease combined with 



336 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

alcohol. We have already mentioned the rules which forbid 
German officers to marry a woman unless she possesses a certain 
fortune. 

In the Norwegian mercantile marine the customs contrast 
happily mth those we have just mentioned, and permit officers 
to live on board with their mves. In all respects the Norwegian 
serves as a model in the sexual question; does he not favor con- 
jugal life by only charging half-price on the boats for women 
who travel with their husbands! 

Other classes have a less obvious influence on sexual life. 
On the whole, however, all sexual isolation of castes has an 
unfavorable influence. WTierever the prejudices of a caste 
compel its members to intermarry, certain special degenerations 
are produced. Good quality in man is not derived from class 
or position, but from true innate or hereditary nobility of char- 
acter, and this alone should be the object of positive selection, 
without any distinction of classes. 

Individual Life. — There is no doubt that the mode of life of 
the individual exerts an influence on his sexual life. High living 
combined with little bodily exercise generally increases the sex- 
ual appetite, while insufficient food combined with severe mus- 
cular work diminishes it. 

Intellectual work acts in a variable manner. A distinguished 
psychologist assured me that intense intellectual work excited 
his sexual appetite; others have said the opposite. As a rule, 
a sedentary life increases the sexual appetite ; a life full of occu- 
pation and muscular activity diminishes it. But the question 
is complicated by other influences. 

Alcohol diminishes sexual power, while exalting desire or even 
perverting it. The artificial excitants of the sexual appetite, 
cultivated by modern civilization by interested speculation, act 
in rather a different way. Erotic pictures, obscene novels and 
dramas, etc., constitute an unhealthy medium in our centers of 
civilization, which overexcites and corrupts the sexual appetite. 
The more delicate and poisonous the perfume of this atmosphere 
and the more aesthetic the refinement by which it titillates the 
senses, the greater is its destructive action. 

The question of the reunion or separation of the sexes plays an 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 337 

important part. Life in common among girls and boys from 
infancy usually diminishes sexual excitation, in the same way 
as among brothers and sisters. We find something analogous in 
different branches of human activity where the two sexes live 
together; for instance, at college, in the fields, and in general 
where work and play is common to both sexes. 

There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule, which must 
not be taken too generally. Under certain circumstances, life 
in common of the two sexes leads to unfavorable and even 
perverted sexual excitation. This is especially the case when 
alcohol adds its influence; also among nervous or ill-balanced 
individuals. In my opinion it is absolutely unreasonable for 
the superintendent of a lunatic asylum to organize balls at which 
the insane of both sexes are provided with beer or wine. I have 
only seen bad results from this, while I have obtained excellent 
effects from a temporary reunion of the insane of both sexes, by 
avoiding all alcoholic drinks as well as everything which could 
excite the sexual appetite, such as dancing, or the bringing to- 
gether of erotic or perverted individuals. A young female 
onanist who suffered from sexual excitement complicated mth 
a nervous condition, complained to me of being obliged to work 
as a telegraphist among young men, as this continually excited 
her eroticism without the possibility of satisfying it. 

This situation, which is a common one in both sexes, gives us 
a valuable indication. No doubt life in common for the two 
sexes is normal and natural, but only on the condition that it 
leads eventually to normal sexual intercourse as the result of 
love. It is neither healthy nor normal to excite an appetite 
continually without satisfying it. Any one who wishes to live 
a continent life, for religious or other reasons, ought not to 
expose himself to continual excitement by too great intimacy 
with the opposite sex; he should, on the contrary, avoid every- 
thing which tends to excite his sexual appetite and seek every- 
thing which tends to pacify it. I am not referring here to 
individuals of a naturally cold and indifTerent nature, who run 
little or no risk under such circumstances. 

Certain occupations, such as those of employees in stores, tele- 
graph offices, etc., in which the two sexes are closely associated 



338 THE SEXUAL QUESTION _ 

in their work, constitute from this point of view a double-edged ' 
sword. Other unhealthy and monotonous occupations, com- 
bined with bad conditions of food and lodging, and with all kinds 
of seduction — factory hands for example — have a positively 
deleterious effect on sexual life, which becomes absolutely de- 
praved when the two sexes work together. The situation is hardly 
any better when they are only separated during working hours. 

Intemats. — All internats, i.e., all establishments where indi- 
viduals of the same sex hve in the same dwelhng for a long 
time, exert a peculiar influence on sexual life — schools and con- 
vents, for example. 

The gi'eat inconvenience of all these establishments lies in the 
danger of contamination from habits of onanism or pederasty. 
Inverts are strongly attracted towards internats, where they 
find their heart's desire where they can easily indulge their per- 
verted passions; the dormitory of such an institution having 
the same effect on them as that of a girl's school would have on 
a young man. (Vide Chapter VIII.) 

This is a matter which has not received sufficient attention 
in organizing boarding-schools for boys and girls, because it was 
not known that homosexual instincts are hereditary and innate. 
Such cases were regarded only as acquired bad habits. 

Lunatic asylums are especially attractive to sexual inverts, 
who apply for the positions of attendants or nurse so as to be 
able to indulge their passions on the insane patients, who are 
incapable of betraying them. 

Without being homosexual, nor even seduced by inverts, 
many normal but erotic individuals try to satisfy their sexual 
appetite on their companions — boys by pederasty, girls by les- 
bian love, and both sexes by mutual onanism. 

The chief danger is that of some sexually perverted individual 
gaining entiy to a boarding-school and contaminating numbers 
of normal individuals, without anytliing being discovered; 
because it is much more difficult to supervise a school than a 
family. This could be remedied better by confidence between 
masters and pupils than by super\dsion. 

Varia. — I should never finish if I attempted to describe all 
the influences of environment. The examples mentioned will 



INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON SEXUAL LIFE 339 

suffice to show that, in a natural appetite such as the sexual, the 
two extremes of asceticism and excess lead to evil and unnatural 
aberrations, and that the important point is to find or create a 
healthy environment for a healthy sexual life. 

We hear a good deal about good or bad luck or chance in the 
matter of love. I do not deny that fortuitous circumstances 
often determine the happiness of an individual in his love affairs. 
But it is all the more deplorable that what is called the good 
maimers of society make it so difficult to correct Cupid's blun- 
ders. There is room for improvement in this direction, and 
many spoilt lives and much unhappiness might be avoided. 
The unfavorable influence of environment might often be cor- 
rected by separation or change, if this could be done in time. 



CHAPTER XII 

RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 

Transformation of Profane Customs into Religious Dogmas. — 

Ethnography has taught us that in the course of time human 
tribes often unconsciously transform profane customs into inte- 
gral parts of their rehgion, either by attributing them to a 
divine origin, or by elevating them to the rank of command- 
ments of the gods, or by connecting them with other dogmas, 
combining them with worship, etc. 

Sexual connection plays an important part in this matter. A 
great number of religious rites and customs are nothing else than 
the customs of sexual life (taken in its widest sense) which have 
been symbolized; inversely, a number of dogmas have for their 
only motive the application of a religious basis to sexual cus- 
toms, which gives them more authority. 

The religious rites react powerfully on the sexual life and on 
the way in which the members of the tribe or people understand 
it. We will give a few striking examples. 

We have seen in Chapter VI that polygamy depends first on 
the idea of ownership, and secondly on marriage by purchase, to 
which it owes its historic origin. But the fact that Islamism 
and Mormonism, for example, have made polygamy an integral 
part of their religious dogmas, has given to the whole organiza- 
tion of the Mahometans and Mormons, as well as to their point 
of view of existence, a particular direction which cannot be 
ignored. In reality, we are just as polygamous as they are, 
but our theoretical and religious sexual morality is monogamous 
while theirs is polygamous, each based on contradictory "divine 
commandments." 

Among certain Buddhists, the wife is compelled to follow her 
husband to the grave, which naturally influences sexual life 
profoundly. 

340 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 341 

Among many savage races there exists matriarchism, which 
gives the woman a high social position. This has even been 
made a rehgious dogma, while it simply originates from the 
natural and just idea that the mother is much more intimately 
connected with the children than the father. 

The duty imposed on men to marry the widow of their brother 
originated from a profane command intended to regulate unions; 
eventually this was made a religious dogma. In the same way 
circumcision among the Jews had its origin in a hygienic custom 
having no relation to religious faith. This did not prevent it 
becoming later on as important a custom as baptism in Chris- 
tianity. For the Jewish people it has the advantage of pro- 
tecting them to a great extent from Venereal infection, and 
against one of the chief causes of masturbation. 

Catholicism. — We have already spoken of the celibacy of the 
Catholic priests and of its lay origin. The Catholic religion also 
contains a series of detailed precepts concerning sexual connec- 
tion in general and marriage in particular; precepts which were 
only gradually transformed into religious dogmas. As they 
determine to a great extent opinions and manners in the sexual 
domain, they exert a considerable social influence. 

The absolute interdiction of divorce among the Catholics 
(man has not the right to separate those whom God has joined 
together) seals forever the most unfortunate unions and leads 
to misfortunes of all kinds, separation of the married couple, 
liaisons apart from marriage, etc. According to Liguori, the 
Catholic Church prescribes a number of details concerning sexual 
relations in marriage. The woman who, during coitus places 
herself upon the man instead of under him, commits a sin. The 
position and manner of performing coitus are prescribed in the 
most minute details, and the holy fathers make the woman play 
a part unworthy of her position as wife, while according the man 
the widest liberty. 

In truly Catholic marriage it is prescribed to procreate as 
many children as possible, and all preventive measures in coitus 
are severely condemned. Hence, if the woman is very fruitful, 
the husband has only the choice between complete abstention 
from coitus (when both conjoints are in agreement) and preg- 



342 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

nancies following without interruption. The woman never has 
the right to refuse coitus to her husband, nor the latter to refuse 
it to his wife, so long as he is capable of accomplishing it. 

It is easy to understand what powerful effects such precepts 
have had and still have on the conjugal life of the Catholics, 
particularly on the quantity and quality of their descendants. 

Aural Confession. — Confession requires special mention. In 
his book, ''Fifty Years in the Roman Church" (Jeheber, Ge- 
neva), on page 151, Father Chiniqui, the celebrated Canadian 
reformer, who later on became a Protestant, and for many 
years played an important part in the Canadian Catholic clergy, 
mentions the points on which the confessor interrogates the 
penitents of both sexes. One cannot reproach him with being 
incompetent. 

No doubt the Church of to-day would reply that the con- 
fessor is not obUged to put all these questions and that the 
details are left to his tact. We will agree that there is a differ- 
ence between the Canada of the last centmy, a new and primi- 
tive country, and the Europe of the present day. But I main- 
tain: Fkst, that the confessor does not content himself with 
listening to what the penitents of both sexes tell him, but that 
it is his duty to interrogate them; secondly, that a celibate 
Catholic person, extremely serious and virtuous, to whom I 
put the question unawares, informed me that not only are sex- 
ual matters dealt with at the confessional, but that they play 
the principal role. And, as it is a question of warning the peni- 
tents against so-called sins, mortal or not, or of absolving them, 
I fail to see how the priest can avoid speaking of them, when 
the detailed precepts of which we have spoken exist. 

I reproduce here the original Latin text. It deals with ques- 
tions which have been treated in Chapter VIII, so that I shall 
dispense with giving a translation. 

The confessor puts the following questions to his penitents: 

1. Peccant uxores, quae susceptum viri semen ejiciunt, vel 
ejicere conantur (Dens, vol. VII, p. 147). 

2. Peccant confuges mortaliter, si, copula incepta, prohibeant 
seminationem. 

3. Si vir jam semin^verit, dubiuni fit an femina lethaliter 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 343 

peccat, si se retrahat a seminando; aut peccat lethaliter vir non 
expedando smiinationem uxoris (p. 153). 

4. Peccant confuges inter se circa actum conjugalem. Debet 
servari modus, sive situs; uno ut non servetur debitum vas, sed 
copula haheatur in vase praepostero, aliquoque non naturali. 
Si fiat accedendo a postero, a latere, stando, sedendo, vet si vir sit 
succumbus (p. 166). 

5. Impotentia. Est incapacitas perficiendi copmlam carnalem 
perfectatn cum seminatione viri in vase se debito, seu, de se, aptam 
generationi. Vel, ut si mulier sit nimis arcta respectu unius non 
respectu alterius (p. 273). 

6. Notatur quod pollutio, in mulieribus possit perfici, ita ut 
semen earum non effluat extra membru7n genitale. Indicium istius 
allegat Billuart, si scilicet midier sensiat seminis resohdionem cum 
magno voluptatis sensu, qua completa, passio satiatur (vol. IV, 
p. 168). 

7. Uxor se accusans, in confessione, quod negaverit debitum, 
interrogatur an ex pleno rigore juris sui id petiverit (vol. VII, 
p. 168). 

8. Confessarius poenitentem, qui confitetur se peccasse cum 
sacerdote, vel solicitatem ab eo ad turpia, potest interrogare utrum 
ille sacerdos sit ejus confessarius, an in confessione sollicitaverit 
(vol. VI, p. 297). 

In volumes V and VII of Dens may be found many such 
precepts, impossible to reproduce, on which the pious casuist 
desires his penitents to be examined. 

Let us now pass on to the celebrated Liguori. Among nu- 
merous other obscene questions of a refined erotic nature, 
every confessor is bound to put the two following to his penitents : 

1. Quaerat an sit semper mortale, si vir immitat pudenda in 
OS uxoris . . . f 

Verius affirmo, quia in hoc actu, ob calorem oris, adest proxi- 
mum periculum pollutionis, et videtur nova species luxuriae con- 
tra naturam, dicta irruminatio. 

2. Eodem modo, Sanchez damnat virum de mortali qui, in actu 
copulae, immite ret digitum in vas praeposterum uxoris; quia, ut 
ait, in hoc actu, adest affectus ad-Sodomiam (Liguori, t. VI, p. 
935). 



344 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Let us now leave the celebrated Liguori and pass on to Burch- 
ard, the bishop of Worms. He has written a book on the ques- 
tions which the priest should put at the confessional. Although 
this book no longer exists it has been for ages the guide of the 
Roman Catholic priests at the confessional. Dens, Liguori, 
Debreyne, etc., have taken from it their most savory passages, 
to recommend them as a study for our present confessors. We 
will give a few examples: 

(a) To young men: 

1. Fecisti solus tecum fornicationem ut quidam facer e solent; 
ita dico ut ipse tuum membrum virile in manumUuam acciperes, 
el sic duceres praeputium tuum, et vmnu propria commoveres, ut 
sic per illam delectationem semen projiceres? 

2. Fornicationem fecisti cum musculo intra coxas; ita dico ut 
tuum virile memhrum intra coxas alterius mitteres, et sic agitando 
semen f under es? 

3. Fecisti fornicationem, ut quidam facere solent, ut tuum virile 
membrum in lignum perforatum aut in aliquod hujus modi mitteres 
et sic per illam commotionem et delectationem semen projiceres f 

4. Fecisti fornicationem contra naturam, id est, cum masculis 
vel animalihus coire, id est, cum equo, aim vacca vel asina, vel 
aliquo animalif (vol. I, p. 136). 

(6) To young girls or women (same collection, p. 115) : 

1. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres solent, quoddam molimen, 
aut machinamentum in modum virilis membri ad mensuram tuae 
voluptatis, et illud loco verendorum tuorum aut alterius cum 
aliquibus ligaturis ut fornicationem faceres cum aliis mulieribus, 
vel alio eodem instrumento, sive alio tecum f 

2. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, ut jam supra 
dicto molimine vel alio aliquo machinamento, tu ipsa in te solam 
faceres fornicationem f 

3. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, quando libidinem 
se vexantem extinguere volunt, quae se conjugunt quasi coire 
debeant et possint, et conjungunt invicem puerperio sua, et si 
fricando pruritum illarum extinguere desiderantf 

4. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, ut cum flio tuo 
parvulo fornicationem faceres, ita dico ut filium tuum supra 
turpidinem tuam poneres ut sic imitaberis fornicationem? 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 345 

5. Fecisti quod quaedam muUeres facer e solent, ut succimiberes 
aliquo jumento et illud jumentum ad coitum qualicumque posses 
ingenio ut sic coiret tecum? 

The celebrated Debreyne has written a whole book on the 
same subject for the instruction of young confessors, and in it 
he has enumerated all kinds of debauchery and sexual per- 
version which he could imagine, "Maechiology," or Treatise on 
all the Sins against the Sixth (seventh in the Decalogue) and the 
Ninth (tenth) Commandments, as well as on all questions of 
married life connected with them. 

This book is very celebrated and is widely studied in the 
Roman Church. We only quote from it the two following 
questions : 

To men: 

Ad cognoscendum an usque ad pollutionem se tetigerint, quando 
tempore et quo fine se tetigerint; an tunc quoddam motus in corpore 
experti fuerint, et per quantum temporis spatium,; an cessantihus 
tactihus nihil insolitum et turpe acciderit; ad non longe majorem 
in corpore voluptatem perciperint in fine inactum quam in eorum 
principio; an turn in fine quando magnam delectationem carnalem 
senserunt, omnes motus corporis cessaverint; an non malefacti 
fuerint f etc., etc. 

To girls: 

Quae sese tetigisse fatentur, an non aliquem pruritum, extinguere 
tentaverit, et utrum pruritus ille cessaverit cum magnam senserint 
voluptatem; an tunc ipsimet tactus cessaverint? 

Among a thousand other analogous precepts the reverend 
Kenrick, bishop of Boston, in the United States, gives the fol- 
lowing to his confessors: 

Uxor quae, in usu matrimonii, se vertit, ut non recipiat semen, 
vel statim post illud acceptum surgit, ut expellatur, lethaliter peccat; 
sed opus non est ut diu resuspina jaceat, quwn matrix, hrevi semen 
attrahat, et mox, arctissime claudatur. 

Puellae patienti licet se vertere et conari ut non recipiat semen, 
quod injuria et emittitur; sed, acceptum non licet expellere, quia 
jam possessionem pacificam habet et hand absque injuria naturae 
ejiceretur. 

Conjuges senes plerumque coeunt absque ctdpa, licet contingat 



346 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

semen extra vas effundi; id enim per accidens fit ex infirmitati 
naturae. 

Quod si vires adeo sint fradae ut nulla sit seminandi intra vas 
spes, jam nequ£unt jure conjugi uti (vol. Ill, p. 317). 

Such is the teaching of Chiniqui, the man whose courage and 
powerful individuality succeeded in introducing abstinence 
from alcohol in Canada. His long life was that of a pioneer 
and an inflexible champion of social and moral reform in that 
country, based on Christianity. He died at the age of ninety. 

I have quoted the erotic precepts of the confessional from 
him, as I was anxious to quote from an absolutely rehable source. 
It was not with a light heart that Chiniqui abandoned the Cath- 
olic Church, but only after violent and bitter struggles with 
conscience, struggles of which he relates the tragic episodes, and 
which lasted for many years. 

He commences the chapter from which we have quoted with 
the following words: "Let legislators, fathers and husbands 
read this chapter and ask themselves the question whether the 
respect which they owe to their mothers, their wives and their 
daughters does not impose upon them the duty of forbidding 
auricular confession. How is it possible for a young girl to 
remain pure in mind after such conversations with an unmar- 
ried man? Is she not more prepared for the depths of vice 
than for conjugal life?" The author of these hnes is a man 
who was obliged for many years to be a confessor himself, and 
who understood to what extent confession corrupted the sexual 
life of women and priests. It is true that persons, priests or 
women, of strong character, and especially those with a cold 
nature from the sexual point of view, may resist such sexual 
excitation. But has confession been specially instituted for 
this type of character? Every one who is not a hypocrite will 
own that it is exactly the contrary. 

Religious Prudery. — The results of such a combination of 
sexual life with religious prescriptions are a mixture of ridiculous 
prudery and continual eroticism. In certain convents (those of 
the nuns of Galicia, for example) the nuns forbid their pupils to 
wash the sexual organs, because it is improper! In Austria the 
nuns often cover the crucifix in their bedroom with a handker- 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 347 

chief, "so that Christ cannot see their nakedness"! But the 
convents of nuns, in the Middle Ages, were often transformed 
into brothels; and it is not uncommon to see hypocrites or 
the subjects of erotic hysteria (both men and women) perform 
sexual orgies of the worst kind under the cloak of religious 
ecstasy. 

Hottentots. Eunuchs. — Among the Hottentots, the hps of 
the vulva (labia minora) in women are artificially elongated, 
and among the Orientals eunuchs are made. In themselves 
these two operations have certainly nothing to do with religion 
and only originated in profane customs. In the course of time 
they were made religious precepts, which has deeply rooted 
them in the customs of the people. 

Religious Eroticism. — The examples which we have cited show 
to what extent man is disposed to clothe his eroticism 
with the cloak of religion. He then attributes a divine 
origin to his desires and lays the precepts which he attaches to 
them on the commandments of his God or gods, so as to sanctify 
them. Hence, the unnatural influence of a mysticism, which 
is nothing else than the crystallized product of the fantastic 
imagination of men, raised to a dogma, imposes itself indirectly 
on natural sexual life, by entering at the back door under the 
cloak of religion. It is obvious that grave abuses or even vices 
often acquire the seal and power of religious precepts; while in 
the same domain a number of other customs or precepts are 
based on good hygienic or moral principles, for example, cir- 
cumcision and conjugal fidelity. 

It is perhaps in the domain of pathology that the relations of 
religion to sexual life are the most striking (see Chapter VIII). 
We must not forget that the facts of reproduction seem to ig- 
norant people and especially to barbarians, to be of a very 
mysterious nature. These people have no idea of germinal 
cells or their conjugation. They see in conception, embry- 
ogeny, pregnancy and birth, the miraculous effects of a divine 
and occult higher power — of the divinity, often even of the 
devil. 

The violent excitement which is associated with the sexual 
appetite and with love urges man to ecstasy; hence it is not to 



348 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

be wondered at that eroticism is so often complicated by ecstatic 
religious sentiments. 

In his book on Psychopathia sexualis, Krafft-Ebing remarks 
how easily religion, poetry and eroticism are combined and 
mingled in the obscm'e feelings and presentiments of maturing 
youth. In the life of saints there is always the question of 
sexual temptations, in which the most elevated and ideal sen- 
timents are mixed with the most repugnant erotic images. On 
the same basis are developed the sexual orgies of different reli- 
gious fetes in the ancient world, as well as in certain modern 
sects. 

Mysticism, religious ecstasy and sexual voluptuousness are 
often combined in a real trinity, and one often sees unsatisfied 
sensuality seek compensation in religious exaltation. Krafft- 
Ebing cites the following cases from Friedreich's "Legal Psy- 
chology" (p. 389): 

In this way the nun Blaubekin was perpetually tormented by 
the thought of what happened to the part of Jesus' body removed 
by circumcision. 

In order to make his devotions to the lamb of God, Veronique 
Juliani, who was canonized by Pope Pius II, took into his cham- 
ber a terrestrial lamb, embraced it and sucked its breasts. 

Saint Catherine of Genes often suffered from such internal heat, 
that, to cool herself, she laid on the ground, crying: "Love, love, 
I can do no more!" In doing this she felt a peculiar inclination 
for her confessor. One day, putting his hand to her nose, she 
perceived an odor which penetrated her heart, "a celestial odor 
the voluptuousness of which could wake the dead." 

The Role of Mental Pathology in Religious Eroticism. — Among 
the insane, and especially in women, but also in men afflicted 
with paranoia (a mental disease) we often find a strange and 
repugnant mixture of eroticism and religious images. Such are 
the everlasting betrothals with Christ, the Virgin Mary, with 
God or with the Holy Spirit, betrothals in which the venereal 
orgasm is combined with imaginary coitus and masturbation, 
followed by imaginary pregnancy and childbirth. These symp- 
toms give us a clear indication of the relation which exists be- 
tween eroticism and rehgious exaltation. The French alienists 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 349 

have even designated them by the characteristic term of "ero- 
tico-rehgious dehrium." A single visit to the female division 
of a lunatic asylum is often sufficient to satisfy the visitor. 

A point which has received less attention is the immense his- 
torical influence which certain psychopathological personalities, 
chiefly hysterical subjects, but also some crazy persons or 
hereditary visionaries, have exercised at all times on human 
destiny, usually by the aid of the suggestive effects of sexual 
and religious ideas (erotico-religious), the connections of which 
have not always been clear. 

Every psychiatrist knows the insane whose delirium is com- 
bined with religious or mystic exaltation, and who by the mys- 
ticism of their delirium have exercised and continue to exercise 
a profound influence on the mass of humanity which surround 
them — "Panurge's Sheep," if I may use the expression. These 
people are themselves so dominated by the pathological influ- 
ence of their auto-suggestions or their delirium that they be- 
have with the fanaticism of fakirs, and exhibit an extraordinary 
energy and perseverance in the pursuit of the object of their 
morbid ideas. By their assurance, the sentiment of infallibility, 
and the fire of faith which is manifested in their prophetical 
manner, they fascinate the feeble brains of the people who sur- 
round them and attract them by their suggestive action. 

A very human and often powerful eroticism is usually asso- 
ciated with their delirium; but it is covered by a cloak of reli- 
gious ecstasy, which imposes on natures disposed to exaltation, 
and renders them blind to the ignominy which often lies under 
this ecstasy. 

What makes these patients so persuasive is the fact that they 
are themselves persuaded. Even the normal man, we must 
admit, is guided less by reason than by sentiment, and the per- 
sons we have just described exert a powerful action on senti- 
ment, and this more by their piercing glance, their prophetic 
and dominating tone, their manner and appearance, than by 
the extremely confused text of their discourses and doctrines. 

In this way there are always arising small epidemics of at- 
traction in which a group of individuals aflows itself to be infatu- 
ated by so-called prophets, messiahs, holy virgins and other 



350 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

visionaries, who are only lunatics or crazy persons. Under their 
influence are produced certain forms of insanity by contagion, 
which have been called double, triple or quadruple madness, 
and which may sometimes take the form of an epidemic. 

When the "prophet" is more consistent in his words andi 
actions, or when his environment is still very ignorant and super- ' 
stitious, the crowd of believers increases still more rapidly, and 
thus one sees even at the present day in less-civilized countries 
new sects or religious guilds, more or less ephemeral, in which 
the spirit of the prophet sometimes stirs up grave sexual orgies. 

Among more cultured people the prophet is.generally exposed 
or sent to a lunatic asylum, much to the indignation of his disci- 
ples, who often consist of his wife and children and a few feeble- 
minded acquaintances. 

Thanks to the cheapness of printing, these prophets often pu!> 
lish their new religious system and sell it among their dupes. 
I possess a small library of works of this kind which have been 
sent me by their authors; probably with the idea that they 
might one day be taken for fools, and to prove to me in advance 
that they were not. 

According to them, God has personally revealed to them the 
new truth in which they believe, and has appointed them as 
prophets. Erotic images are generally associated with their 
system. One of them, whose system is astronomical, divides the 
planets into males and females. Another, a lunatic, describes 
the pathological sexual sensations by the term of "psycho-sexual 
contact by action at a distance." These are phenomena which 
we meet with at each step in psychiatry, and which give the 
clue to what follows. 

The Historical Role of Mental Anomalies which are Not Very 
Apparent and Border on Genius. Their Influence on Religious 
Eroticism. — These persons are not always afflicted with para- 
noia or other grave psychoses, but often hereditary and consti- 
tutional psychopaths who are only half-crazy or simply hys- 
terical, and who may, in spite of this defect, possess a certain 
degree of intellectual power, an energetic will and the fire of 
enthusiasm. Things then take an essentiafly different course, 
even when they rest on an analogous basis. 



I RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 351 

The prophet combines with his exaltation a logic which is 
often very concise in its details, although applied on a morbid 
basis. Moreover, he clothes his utterances in fine and poetical 
language, and in this way succeeds in rallying round him, not a 
flock of Panurge's ignorant sheep, but more elevated people and 
even a considerable proportion of the surrounding society. In 
this case pathological exaltation may be united to a high moral 
and intellectual ideal, which is very apt to veil the bizarre fan- 
cies of the prophet. We thus meet with the astonishing but 
undeniable fact that certain great historical personalities who 
have exercised a powerful influence on humanity were of more 
or less pathological nature. We discover among them erotico- 
rehgious traits, more or less marked, often even as the leading 
threads of their arguments. 

This important category of individuals constitutes a whole 
series of transitions between the insane prophets of whom we 
have spoken and well-balanced men of genius. It is often very 
difficult to understand and interpret the series of intermediate 
forms, so graduating and so variable, which exist between 
insanity and genius. It is necessary to guard against any 
exclusive generalization in one way or the other. 

In any case, the fact that many men of genius are of patho- 
logical nature does not authorize us to regard every person of 
genius or originality as insane, whether he attacks the routine 
and prejudices of his contemporaries, or whether he opens up 
new horizons and goes out of the beaten track. Let me cite a 
few examples. 

Joan of Arc was, in my opinion, a hysterical genius whose 
hallucinations w^ere auto-suggestive. The distress of France 
had profoundly agitated her, and, fired with the desire to save 
her country, her brain was affected by auto-suggestion with 
hallucinations of the voices of saints and visions, which pointed 
out her mission and which she regarded as coming from real 
saints in heaven. At that period such things were common 
enough and need not surprise us. In spite of her good sense 
and modesty, Joan of Arc was urged by an exaltation uncon- 
scious of self. By a destiny as astonishing as providential, this 
young girl of genius, and at the same time pathological, exalted 



352 THE SEXUAL QUESTION j 

by ecstatic hallucinations, led France to a victorious war of ' 
freedom. The most conscientious historical sources show that 
the morality of Joan of Arc was pure and above reproach. Her 
replies to the invidious questions of the Inquisition are admirable 
and bear witness both to her high intelligence and the moral 
elevation of her sentiments. It is evident that the sentiments 
of love were transformed in her into religious ecstasy and enthu- 
siasm for the ideal of her mission, a frequent occurrence among 
women. 

Another remarkable example is that of Thomas a Becket. The 
sudden transformation of this man of the world into an ascetic 
priest (it is true, on the occasion of his nomination as arch- 
bishop), from this devoted friend and servitor of the king of 
England into his most violent adversary, and into a champion 
of the Church against the State, evidently represents the auto- 
suggestive transformation of a hysterical subject, for this is 
the only way of explaining such a sudden and complete contra- 
diction which caused him to change suddenly from one fanaticism 
to a contrary one. 

The religious exaltation of the Mormon prophet. Smith, was 
no doubt combined with eroticism, which made him organize 
his sect on the basis of polygamy. 

Mahomet also had visions, and sexual connection plays an im- 
portant part in his teaching and prophesies. The apostle St. 
Paul was also a visionary who passed suddenly from one extreme 
to another as the result of hallucination. Pascal, Napoleon, 
and Rousseau presented very marked pathological traits. 

Although some of these cases have no direct connection with 
the sexual question, I have mentioned them to show how such 
personalities exert their influence on the masses, and through 
them on history. As soon as they acquire authority, their 
peculiar ideas and sexual conceptions, however exclusive or even 
absurd they may be, react strongly on their contemporaries, as 
we see to-day the ascetic ideas of Tolstoi influence his numerous 
disciples. 

Sudden conversions, whatever may be their nature, especially 
when the convert goes from one extreme to another, are not the 
fruit of reason, but depend on suggestion or auto-suggestion 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 353 

and especially on pathological suggestibility. (Vide Chapter 
IX). 

In other respects sexual anomahes often govern the acts of 
hysterical persons and other psychopaths. The Roman em- 
perors, Nero, Tiberius and Caligula were almost certainly 
sadists and enjoyed sexual pleasure at the sight of the sufferings 
of their victims. Valerie, Messalina and Catherine de Medici 
were also female sadists. Under the hypocritical veil of reli- 
gion, Catherine de Medici was the principal instigator of the 
Massacre of St. Bartholomew at Paris, and wallowed in pleasure 
at the sight of the massacre of the Huguenots. 

On the other hand, masochism may give tone to the thoughts 
and sexual feelings of certain persons of great influence, such as 
Rousseau, and to sects of ascetics, such as the faku's, etc. 

Involuntarily, therefore, the sexual feelings of every prophet 
and founder of religion, even during a short period of his life 
only, influence more or less his religious system and consequently 
the laws of morality based on it, which remain after his death. 

Hence it is that sentiments, as variable in different individuals 
as sexual sentiments, are obliged to submit to the constraint of 
fixed and tyrannical dogmas which martyrize for centuries, or 
even thousands of years, men who have other opinions than the 
founder of the religion or its interpreters who succeed him. 

In religion we see everywhere idealized eroticism, and often 
idealism perfumed with eroticism. The Songs of Solomon, 
the original sense of which was very lay, like that of most 
religious matters, has been made allegorical and applied to 
the Christian Church, but it was and wiU always remain an 
erotic poem. 

It is hardly necessary to add that natural eroticism very often 
leads the severe and ascetic preachers of morality to the grossest 
hypocrisy. Priests and other pious persons often preach an 
idealized asceticism, while in secret they commit the most dis- 
gusting sexual excesses. 

We must not, however, judge such crying inconsistencies too 
severely; they are to a great extent unconscious and are the 
result of the shock of passion against the tyranny of dogma, 
prejudice, and public opinion. They are often also the result 



354 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of mental anomalies. When science is allowed to enlighten 
sexual life freely and openly, the hypocrisy of normal people 
will cease, and that of the abnormal will be recognized in time 
and prevented from doing harm. 

Transformation of Eroticism into Religious Sentiment. — In 
ordinary life we find everywhere traces of the mixtm-e of religion 
with sexual sensations and images. The religious ceremonies 
of marriage among all peoples constitute a significant remnant 
thereof. 

When we look for the causes of sudden and progressive reli- 
gious exaltation we often discover that it is nothing else than 
compensation for disappointed love. I refer here to true and 
fervid exaltation, identified with the whole inner consciousness, 
and not to the religion of habit which the average man scarcely 
remembers in his daily life, and only observes on Sunday in the 
form of a conventional promenade, or a contribution to the 
church. This religion of habit is only an empty form, which 
awakes no sentiment, and consequently is associated with no 
sensation, even erotic, in its followers. 

In other individuals it may be otherwise, and certainly was 
so formerly. Everything goes to prove that the exalted senti- 
ments of sympathy from which our religion is to a great extent 
derived, such as the holy fervor, the devotional ardor and the 
delights of ecstasy which it has so often procured for its follow- 
ers and still procm'es for some of them, whether their object be 
God, Allah, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Vishnu, the Virgin 
Mary, or the Saints, that these sentiments have to a gi^eat 
extent their roots in primary erotic sensations and sentiments, 
or represent the direct transformation of them. 

It is needless to say that all this may take place quite uncon- 
sciously and with the purest intentions. I hasten to add that 
the majority of true religious sentiments come from quite a 
different source. 

When we study the religious sentiment profoundly, especially 
in the Christian religion, and Catholicism in particular, we find 
at each step its astonishing connection with eroticism. We 
find it in the exalted adoration of holy women, such as Mary 
Magdalene, Marie de Bethany, for Jesus, in the holy legends. 



RELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 355 

in the worship of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages, and 
especially in art. The ecstatic Madonnas in our art galleries 
cast their fervent regards on Jesus or on the heavens. The 
expression in Murillo's ''Immaculate Conception" may be 
interpreted by the highest voluptuous exaltation of love as well 
as by holy transfiguration. The "Saints" of Correggio regard 
the Holy Virgin with an amorous ardor which may be celestial, 
but appears in reality extremely terrestrial and human. 

Numerous sects, both ancient and modern, have entered on 
the scene in a hardly less libidinous manner; for example, the 
sexual excesses of the anabaptists in former times and the 
sexual ecstasies of certain modern sects in America. 

If the objection is raised that these sects are the pathological 
excrescences of religion, I reply with then- disciples as fol- 
lows: "We have come into the world because your State reli- 
gions are sunk in indifference, hypocrisy and hollow formality, 
offering nothing to the human heart but empty plii-ases. It 
behooves us to awaken from this sleep. We want enthusiasm 
and fervor to transform the inner life of man and convert him." 
These words, which we can see and hear everywhere by opening 
our eyes and ears, constitute a formal avowal of the suggestive 
factor in religion. (See Chapter IX,) 

In the Canton of Zurich I have myself often had occasion to 
observe, especially among women, the followers of the singular 
sect of the Pastor Zeller, of Maennedorf. He is a kind of 
visionary prophet who heals people after the manner of Christ 
and John the Baptist, by placing his hands on them and anoint- 
ing them with oil. The cures which he obtains are due naturally 
to suggestion, like those of Lourdes, but he attributes them to 
divine miracles. He even told me naively that he heard a 
grinding (crepitation) in a broken bone, which he regarded as a 
miraculous cure! A crowd of women, mostly hysterical, col- 
lected around this man with an ardor which was unconsciously 
directed much more to his person than to that of God or Chi'ist 
whom he was supposed to symbolize. I have treated patients 
who had been to him, and who associated with his person both 
the mildest and the most carnal erotic images— of course, in the 
innocence of their hearts. 



356 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 






It is far from me to reproach this sincere man and many 
others of the same kind, especially the priests who are surrounded 
by a halo of sanctity pushed to ecstasy. I only maintain that 
when a human being exalts himself in the search for pure- 
mindedness and sanctity, thus denying his true nature, he is 
always in danger of falling unconsciously into the most gross 
sensuality, and at the same time of sanctifying this sensuality. 

Description of Religious Eroticism by the Poets. — The Swiss 
poet, Gottfried Keller, with his peculiar genius has described 
religious eroticism in an admirable way, especially in his 
seven legends. Read, for example, Dorothea' s^Blumenkorhchen 
(Dorothea's little flower-basket), in which the terrestial lover of 
Dorothea ends by becoming jealous of her celestial lover, of 
whom she always speaks in the most exalted sentiments. Wher- 
ever she went she spoke in the most tender terms and expressed 
the most ardent desire for a celestial lover that she had found, 
who waited in immortal beauty to press her against his shining 
breast. When the wicked prefect had bound Dorothea on the 
gridiron under which was placed a slow fire, this hurt her deli- 
cate body, and she uttered smothered cries. Then her terrestrial 
lover, Theophilus, forcing his way through the crowd, burst her 
bonds and said with a sad smile, "Does it hurt you, Dorothea?" 
But when suddenly freed from all pain she immediately replied : 
"How could it hurt me, Theophilus? I lay on the roses of the 
lover I adore ! This is my wedding day ! " Keller shows us here, 
along with eroticism, the suggestive effect of ecstasy, which 
among martyrs, may reach the most complete anaesthesia. 

Goethe has also described erotico-religious ecstasy; for ex- 
ample, at the end of the second part of Faust, in the prayers 
addressed by certain anchorites to the queen of heaven. 

Distinction Between Religion and the Ecstasy Derived from 
Eroticism. — It would be quite false to maintain that religion in 
itself arises from sexual sensations. The terror of death and 
the enigmas of existence, the sentiments of human weakness 
and insufficiency of life, the want of consolation for all miseries, 
the hope of a future life, all play an important part in the 
origin of religions. On the other hand, it is necessary to recog- 
nize the considerable role of the erotic sexual factor in rehgious 



EELIGION AND SEXUAL LIFE 357 

sentiments and dogmas, where on the one hand it leads to 
ardent fervor, while on the other hand it tyrannizes, especially 
by the exclusiveness of its residues transformed into dogmas, 
the natural expansion of the erotic sentiments which are so 
variable in individuals. 

One of the most difficult and important future tasks of social 
science toward humanity is, therefore, to set free sexual rela- 
tions from the t5a-anny of rehgious dogmas, by placing them in 
harmony with the true and purely human laws of natural 
ethics. 

Compensations. — In the animal series we have seen that sen- 
timents of sympathy are derived, in a general way, by phylog- 
eny, from the sentiments of sexual attraction, and we often 
see in man a sexual love, deceived, despised or transfigured, seek 
compensation or idealization in the fervor or rehgious exalta- 
tion. The question naturally presents itself whether this com- 
pensation or this ideal is indispensable, and if other objects of a 
human and not mystical nature cannot take its place. 

There are, in my opinion, purely human ideals, which are 
capable of transfiguring erotic love "rehgiously" quite as well 
as the mysticism of so-cahed divine revelations. Christianity is 
called the religion of love, and the apostle Paul even places 
charity higher than faith. But what is charity but the syn- 
thesis of the social sentiments of sympathy, devotion and self- 
denial, for the benefit of humanity? Cannot it, therefore, be 
estabhshed on another basis than that of cheques to be drawn 
on paradise? Cannot exaltation and fervor apply their powerful 
faith, the beauty of their form and the elevation of their senti- 
ments to the social ideal and the future welfare of our children? 
Cannot we replace the cult of religious legends, the adoration of 
the works of Jehovah and Cliiist, as they are given in the Bible, 
by the reUgion of our descendants and their welfare? 

In my opinion, the suggestion of religious ecstasy and love 
might well be directed toward the benefit of society. Its 
fanaticism is admirably adapted to shake the indifference and 
indolence of men; but this source of energy should not be wasted 
in the adoration of legendaiy mirages, but used for the efficacious 
culture of a true human religion of love on earth. 



CHAPTER XIII 

RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE — GENERALITIES 

Rights and Liberty. — Human ideas of right are very curious. 
Every one appeals to right and Uberty, and naturally thinks of 
himself first, without perceiving that in continually claiming his 
proper rights, he tramples under foot those of others. How 
beautiful are these words Rights and Liberty! But in everyday 
life in what an uncompromising way they oppose each other! 
To give satisfaction to my rights and liberty, the right of com- 
plete development, according to my natm'al sentiments, is a 
thing which is perfectly impossible; or, is only practicable by 
constantly infringing the right and Uberty of my fellow beings. 

Nevertheless people keep harping on this theme; with the 
exalted tone of intimate conviction they inveigh against our 
social organization, cursing the malice of others, but show them- 
selves perfectly incapable of resolving the contradictions which 
gave rise to their thirst for Uberty and justice. 

The cry of despair addressed to right and Uberty by modern 
society is nothing else than the expression of the instinctive sen- 
timent of anger and revolt produced by the natural evolution of 
our phylogeny. The savage instincts, stiU considerable in the 
hereditary foundation of human nature (the mneme), revolt 
against the straight- jacket placed on them by social Ufe, and 
against the want of Uberty on the earth, which is already too 
small for humanity. 

The natural man is eager for expansion and liberty, and 
accustoms himself "^ith difUculty to the severe restrictions 
which social necessities impose upon him. His nature is still 
that of a semi-nomadic animal, living as an autocrat with his 
family, possessed of a number of egoistic wants, and, wherever 
he goes, opposing the rights, liberties and desires of other men, 
who generaUy compel him to subordinate his desires to theirs. 

358 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 359 

This is the true reason of this impotent cry of vexation and 
anger against the mahce of others and the defectiveness of social 
organization. And yet this cry is absolutely necessary, in order 
that we may find and put in practice a social formula as tolerable 
as possible for the future. But, if we except the question of 
capital and labor, there is no domain in which social hindrance 
is so cruelly felt as in the sexual. 

What is human right? Apart from formally admitted dis- 
tinctions we shall divide what is called right from the psycho- 
logical and human point of view into two categories of ideas; 
natural rights and conventional rights. 

Natural Rights. Right of the Stronger. — Natural right is 
quite a relative idea: the right to life and its conditions. But, 
as in this world, which is said to be created by a personal and 
perfect God, things are so amicably arranged that living crea- 
tures can only exist by devouring one another, the oldest effec- 
tive natural right of every living being is precisely that of de- 
vouring others weaker than itself. This is the right of the 
stronger. Therefore, the absolute natural right is the right of 
the stronger. 

Rights of Groups. Ants. — These notions become altered, 
however, if we regard them from the point of view of relative 
natural right. This does not concern all living beings, but only 
certain groups. The rights of groups are relative from a double 
point of view. On the one hand they give the group of individuals 
concerned the right of interfering with the right to life of other 
groups, even to extinction. On the other hand — and this is the 
better aspect of the rights of groups — they are completed by what 
are called the duties of each individual toward others of the same 
gi-oup, that is to say, the obUgation to have regard for and even 
protect then- rights equally as his own. The rights of a group 
include the social rights and duties in the limits of that group. 

It is among animals, especially the ants, that we find the most 
ideal organization of the rights of a group. Each individual of 
the ant colony acts in the interests of the community, which are 
the same as its own. It has the right to be nourished and 
housed and to satisfy all its immediate wants, but at the same 
time it is its duty to labor unceasingly in building and repahing 



360 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

the common dwelling, to nom-ish its fellows, to aid in the repro- 
duction and bringing-up of the brood, to defend the community 
and even to take the offensive against every living being who 
does not belong to the community, in order to increase its 
resources. 

The rights and duties have here become completely instinctive 
by adaptation, that is to say, they are performed without com- 
mands or instruction. They result spontaneously from the nat- 
ural organization of ants without the least external obligation 
intervening. Here, the cry of distress of the ferocious human 
beast, of whom we have just spoken, is completely absent, for 
duty is replaced by instinct or by appetite, and its accomplish- 
ment is accompanied by a natural sentiment of pleasure. Every 
ant could be idle without being punished by its comrades, if it 
were capable of wishing to be so, but this is impossible. Com- 
munities of ants can only exist on the basis of the social instinct 
of labor and mutual support, without which they would imme- 
diately disappear. 

Egoism and the Rights of Groups in Man. Hviman Rights. — 
The notions of the rights of groups in man are infinitely more 
compUcated and more difficult to understand. As we have 
already seen, the most primordial instinctive sentiment in man 
is limited to his family and his iimnediate surroundings. But 
here even it leaves much to be desired. Family disputes, 
quarrels between brothers and sisters are frequent enough; 
parricide, fratricide and infanticide are not rare. In addition to 
this, beyond the narrow circle of the family, disputes, hatred 
between individuals, deception, robbery and many worse things 
are always the order of the day. In struggles between parties 
and classes, in the abuse of privileges of caste and fortune, in 
war, in commerce, in a word in everything, private interests of 
egoism take precedence of the general interests of humanity. 

These facts, and a thousand other pitiable phenomena of the 
same kind in human society, bear witness to the egoistic and 
rapacious nature of man, which proves how fit tie the social 
instinct is developed in his brain. Human society is founded 
much more on custom and tradition, imposed by the force of 
circumstances, than on nature. Human infants resemble kit- 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE ' 361 

tens at first much more than young social beings. In primitive 
times, when the earth appeared large to man, the rights of 
groups were limited to small communities which looked upon 
other men, the same as animals and plants, as legitimate prey. 
Cannibalism and even the chase show clearly that man began by 
becoming more rapacious and more carnivorous than his pithe- 
canthropoid ancestor, and his cousin the ape of the present day. 

It is only later, after the progressive enlargement of stronger 
communities at the expense of weaker; still later, when man 
commenced to comprehend the sufferings for the community 
which result from the autocracy and passion for unlimited 
pleasure of a few persons; finally, when he discovered the nar- 
row limits of the earth, that notions of humanity and humanita- 
rianism, that is to say the sentiment of human solidarity, were 
able to develop in the general conscience. It was, however, one 
of the ancients who said "I am a man and nothing human can 
be strange to me." But in his time, as in that of Jesus Christ, 
civilization was already far advanced and influenced by the 
wide humanitarian ideas, more ancient still, of the Assyrians 
and the Buddhists. 

Every one who reflects will understand that the relativity of 
the rights of groups in man and that of the duties which corre- 
spond to them, must in time expand and be applied, httle by 
little, to all the human inhabitants of the earth. What is more 
difficult is the definition of what should be understood under the 
term of humanity, capable of being socialized and cultivated. 

No doubt, the gap which exists between the lowest Uving 
human race and the highest ape is considerable and without 
direct transition. However, we gradually begin to recognize, 
on the one hand, that we have certain duties toward animals, at 
least toward those which serve us, and, on the other hand, we 
know that certain of the lower human races, such as the pigmies, 
the Veddas and even the Negroes, are inaccessible to a higher 
civilization, and especially incapable by themselves of main- 
taining what a number of their individuals learn by training 
when they live, among us. We shall, therefore, have to choose 
finally between the gradual extinction of these races or that of 
our own. 



362 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

It is not my business to deal with this question here, to trace 
the limits of civilizable humanity, or to examine the rights and 
duties of civiUzed men to each other relatively to the rest of the 
living world; or, in other words, to what extent civilized man 
should have the relative right of subjecting other living beings, 
exploiting them in his own interests, nourishing them, or eventu- 
ally exterminating them for the safety of his own existence. 

As regards the animal and vegetable kingdoms, from the 
amoeba to the orang-utan, the question is simple enough and 
settled. It is much more difficult to decide for men and for 
peoples separated from us by great racial differences. I must 
emphasize the profoundness of this difference. It is evident 
that the higher cultivated races, or rather blends of races, which 
live to-day will do better to live in peace than to mutually exter- 
minate each other. 

It is necessary to discuss these questions at the risk of hurting 
the feelings of sentimental persons. But what is the use of being 
blind to such patent facts? It is not too soon to look closely 
into the future, and it is only thus that we can arrive at any 
useful result. The natural rights of man should evolve more and 
more from a complex of social rights and duties toward a single 
great gi'oup, which we may call civilized humanity, the relative 
limits of which can only be traced by repeated trials and by 
practical experience. The instincts of the wild beast are still 
so deeply rooted, even in civilized men, that they can only be 
adapted gradually and even painfully to a natural right thus 
understood and limited. We must honestly admit that such a 
right only merits very relatively the denomination of natural 
rights. In fact, social rights are necessarily artificial in man. 
A few elementary rights and duties only are quite natural, 
especially in the sexual domain. We are concerned here with 
adaptations in the form of instincts which serve for the support 
and development of the family, as well as for the protection of 
the individual. Among these we may mention the right to fife, 
the duty of labor and the right to labor, the right of the infant 
to be nourished by its mother and to be cared for and protected 
by its parents, the duty of parents to nourish their children, 
the duty of the husband to protect his wife, the right to obtain 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 363 

nourishment from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, the right 
to satisfy the sexual appetite, etc. 

There exists, however, a series of other rights and duties, 
which are so necessary that they maybe termed natural. Such 
are the right to possess a dwelling place; to defend one's life 
against attack; to think and beUeve what one wishes so long 
as one does not impose one's ideas and faith on others; the duty 
to respect the life and property of one's neighbor; the duty to 
give a healthy and sufficient education to youth, both in body 
and mind, etc. 

If we regard the matter without prejudice, certain rights and 
duties which have been hitherto considered as natural and self- 
evident, become very doubtful. Such are ecclesiastical and 
religious rights and duties, patriotic and national duties, the 
rights and duties of war, the rights of privileged classes, the rights 
of property, etc. It is clear, from an unprejudiced examination 
of the development of humanity, that these so-called rights and 
duties are only the historic legacies of mysticism or of Hmited 
human groupings, and in great part artificial. The rights and 
duties of members of the groups in question consisted in mutu- 
ally protecting their opinions and their national and reHgious 
interests, etc., and in subjecting or even trampling under foot 
those of other human groups. These lead us quite naturally 
to the second category of general notions of rights. 

Conventional Rights. — To speak correctly, conventional rights 
are not rights. They are simply a dogmatic sanction applied 
to all kinds of customs and abuses that men have appropriated, • 
according to local chcumstances and their fortuitous con- 
quests or acquisitions. Here, the consequences of the natural 
rights of the stronger, religious mysticisms and all sorts of hu- 
man passions, the sexual appetite especially, play a very varied 
and complex role. 

The absurdity and injustice of conventional rights is shown 
by the difference, often even the absolute contrast, of the cor- 
responding conception of rights among different peoples. In 
one, polygamy is a right and even a divine institution; in an- 
other, it is a crime. Individual murder is generally considered 
as criminal, but in warfare the slaughter of masses becomes a 



364 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 1 

duty and even a \drtue. Theft and rapine are regarded in times i 
of peace as crimes, but in time of war, under the form of annexa- j 
tion and plunder they are the uncontested rights of the victor, j 
In a kingdom, the monarch is looked upon as a holy person and i 
offense to his majesty as a crime; in a democracy, it is individual j 
domination which is regarded as criminal. j 

Falsehood and mental restriction are, in certain cases at least, 
the rights or even the duty of the Catholic, who is only forbidden 
to swear falsely in the name of God and religion, while others 
consider all falsehood more or less unjustifiable; others again 
regard every oath as sinful. 

The contradictions, inconsistencies, urmatural prescripts and 
tyrannies of what is called conventional rights in different 
peoples are innumerable, and the notions of our rights which we 
have inherited from the Romans are not much better. 

Retaliation. — In historical epochs, we see the rights of the 
stronger succeeded by certain notions of rights which may still 
be considered as primordial; such is the law of retaliation or 
lynch law, based on the natural sentunent of vengeance, which 
is itself derived from anger, jealousy and pride, and says "An 
eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." The law of retaliation 
is very natural and very human. Although of savage origin, it 
has at least the merit of recognizing in men an equal right in 
retaliation for injury caused in a brutal fashion, without con- 
sidering inner motives. 

Expiation. — We also find in the old law another notion de- 
rived partly from the preceding, but chiefly from religious mys- 
ticism — the notion of expiation. After constructing in his own 
image a divinity blinded by hmnan passions, man attributed to 
him, from fear of vengeance, sentiments of anger and indigna- 
tion regarding his baseness and malice toward his neighbor. 
He then conciliated the divinity and appeased his wrath by 
making sacrifices, human or otherwise. 

At first, sacrifices were not made of criminals or guilty per- 
sons, but of innocent lambs, men or beasts, sometimes with all 
kinds of torture, to appease the supposed wrath of the gods. 
Gradually, however, these customs became more humane and 
were changed to the notions of expiation which we still have. 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 365 

Whosoever has committed a crime should expiate it by some 
kind of pain, eventually by death. In our modern penal law, 
notions of expiation and retaliation are blended, and when we 
study its roots in ethnology we are not surprised to see the expia- 
tion and punishment of so-called crimes against God or religion. 
We find in this fact a singular mixture of rehgious and judicial 
notions. A curious way of appeasing the divinity is the sacrifice 
of animals and other offerings which ancient and savage peoples 
made and still make, in returning thanks for victory or some 
other good fortune, or to appease supposed wrath. 

Themis. — In spite of all these errors, ancient civilization rep- 
resented as the ideal of right a goddess of justice, Themis, with 
eyes blindfolded and holding scales in her hands. The scales 
.signified that right and wrong should be carefully weighed 
'against each other; the bandage, that the judge should pro- 
nounce his verdict without regard to persons, and be inaccessible 
to all outside influence. For the limited ideas of that period, 
Uttle removed from retaliation and expiation, this blind woman 
with her scales was a sufficient representation of justice. She 
had no need to trouble about the psychology of human nature, 
mental disorders, diminished responsibility or ideal social 
improvement. 

Themis Unblindfolded. Fallacy of Free-will. — Nowadays the 
task of our goddess is not so simple, for the progress of humanity 
and science, especially of psychology and psychiatry, oblige her 
whether she wishes or not, to completely remove her bandage, 
so as to see clearly into the human brain. 

It is not simply a question of knowing whether an accused 
person has or has not committed the act which he is accused of, 
but also whether he knew what he was doing, what were the 
motives which urged him, and who is the real instigator of the 
misdeed. Alcohol, mental anomalies and diseases, suggestions, 
passions, etc., concur in influencing the human brain so that 
it is hardly responsible for its acts. 

Again, on further examination, we find that the accepted and 
historical notion of free-will, that is to say the absolute liberty 
of man's will, which constitutes the very existence of our old 
penal law, becomes not only more problematical, but may even 



366 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

be considered as a purely human illusion, resting on the fact 
that the indirect and remote motives of our actions are mainly 
subconscious. 

The gi"eat philosopher, Spinoza, has already demonstrated 
this truth in a masterly manner, and modern science confirms it 
in all respects. Every effect has its cause, and all our resolu- 
tions are the result of the activities of our brain, in their turn! 
determined or influenced by hereditary engrams (instincts and: 
dispositions) or acquired (memories), which are their internal 
causes, and combine with causes acting from without. Let us 
admit freely the fallacy of the old axiom of human free-will and 
endeavor to understand that what we consider as free will is 
nothing else than the very variable faculty of our brain, more 
or less developed in different individuals, of adapting its activity 
to that of its environment, and especially to that of other men. 
Also let us endeavor to take into account that our will' and all 
our actions are, consciously or unconsciously, determined by a 
complex of energies or hereditary engrams (character), com- 
bined with those which have acted upon us from without 
during our life, as well as with emotional or intellectual sensory 
impressions. 

Our whole conception of rights, and especially of penal law, 
should then change. We should entirely do away with retalia- 
tion, a barbarous relic of a more or less animal sentiment of our 
ancestors, and expiation, the relic of a superannuated and 
superstitious mysticism. Modern and truly scientific reformers 
of penal law have already taken account of this necessity. 
But, in spite of the complete inefficacy of the old penal sys- 
tem as regards the diminution of crime, they have so far only 
put into practice few of their ideas. 

Justification of Rights and Laws. — After what we have just 
said, there only remain two reasons to justify the existence of 
rights and laws: 

(1). To protect human society against criminals, and in gen- 
eral to institute ideas and laws with a view to regulate the 
mutual interests of men, in such a way as to result in natural 
conditions of existence as advantageous as possible, both for 
the individual and for society: 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 367 

(2). To study the causes of crimes, social conflicts, imperfec- 
tions and inequalities, so as to obtain, by contending against 
these causes, an improvement in men and their social condition. 
It is true that what we demand here means a complete transfor- 
mation of the notions of conventional right, not only in our old 
penal law, but also to a great extent in civil law ; but this transfor- 
mation is inevitable and has even already commenced. Its 
object is to liberate right from the grasp of an old metaphysico- 
religious dogmatism, and from crystalized doctrines derived from 
superannuated custom and abuse, and to found itself on the 
applied and social natural history of man, who then only will 
merit the name of homo sapiens which was given to him by 
Linnaeus, the great nomenclator of living beings. 

Jurists have already too long based metaphysics on old bar- 
barous customs and superstitious mysticism, transformed into 
dogmas. It is time that Themis removed her bandage, studied 
psychology, psychopathology and science, and submitted the 
impartial handling of her scales to the influence of truer and 
juster human factors, even if her work thereby becomes more 
difficult and more complicated. 

Sexual Rights. — While sexual sentiments form part of the 
most sacred and intimate conditions of individual happiness, 
they are also closely and indissolubly connected with the social 
welfare of humanity. In no domain is it more difl&cult to com- 
bine harmoniously the welfare of the community with that of 
the individual, and this is why questions of right in sexual 
matters are among the most difficult to solve. 

The satisfaction of the sexual appetite in man is part of his 
natural rights. Natural science compels us to formulate this 
principle; yet it is a dogma the consequences of which may 
become very grave and even fatal; for the satisfaction of a 
man's sexual appetite implies, not only the direct partici- 
pation of one or more human beings in a common act, but 
also that of a much gi-eater number in its indirect effects ; and it 
may occasion, according to circumstances, more harm than 
good. 

If the question of reproduction did not exist, it would be more 
Lcasy to put individualism in more or less harmonious accord 



368 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

with socialism. It is thus the sexual relations which present 
the greatest difficulties in the social domain. 

In spite of the considerable progress which has been accom- 
plished, our modern law is still based to a great extent on the 
barbarous principle of the legal inequality of the sexes. The 
mind of man and that of woman are no doubt of different qual- 
ity; nevertheless, in a society which does not possess asexual 
individuals like that of the ants and bees, and in which the two 
sexes are compelled to work together harmoniously for the 
social welfare, there is no reason to subordinate one sex to the 
other. Man may have 130 or 150 grammes more brain tissue 
than woman and be superior to her in his faculty of combination 
and invention, but this is no reason why we should only accord 
his wife and mother inferior social rights to his own. His bodily 
strength will always protect him against the possible encroach- 
ments of woman. 

A first postulate is, therefore, the equality of the two sexes 
before the law. A second postulate consists in the emancipa- 
tion of infancy, in the sense that it should never be considered 
as an object of possession or of exploitation, as was and is still 
so often the case. 

These are the fundamental principles of a normal sexual law. 
In no animal do we find the abuses which man is permitted to 
practice toward his wife and children. Let us now pass on to 
special questions. 

CIVIL LAW 

The object of civil law is to regulate the relations of men to 
each other. Properly speaking it does not punish, that is to 
say, it requires no expiation and is not concerned with crime. 
It seeks to improve the social basis for mutual obligations and 
contracts. Nevertheless, it borders on penal law as regards the 
question of damages which one individual must pay another 
whom he has injured even involuntarily, as well as by the coer- 
cive measures, both administrative and operative, which it 
employs. 

Although resting on a natural basis better adapted to the 
social welfare than penal law, civil law still contains the tradi- 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 369 

tions of religious mysticism and the abuse of conventional 
right. 

I shall here analyze in a few words what concerns our subject 
in actual civil law, and shall point out the modifications which 
appear to me desirable. It is, however, impossible for me to 
enter into the details of codes, owing to absence of special 
knowledge. Moreover, this would lead us too far from our 
subject. 

Marriage and Sexual Relations in General. — The coitus of two 
individuals, performed with mutual deliberation and causing no 
harm to a third person, should be considered as a private affair, 
and should have no connection with either civil or penal law. 

However great may be the necessary restrictions of this gen- 
L ral axiom, it must be recognized as valid in principle. Society 
has no right to restrict the liberty of individuals so long as it, 
or one of its members, is not injured by these individuals. So 
long as coitus is freely performed by adult and responsible per- 
sons, has no indirect consequences, and does not cause fecunda- 
tion, neither society nor any one is injured. 

In the practice of law this axiom is not yet generally accepted. 
Many laws, especially among the Germanic peoples, punish 
concubinage, or extra-nuptial coitus. Even when concubinage 
is tolerated, it is considered illegitimate, so that the woman 
who gives herself to it and the children who result from it, have 
much to suffer. Although they constitute simple religious pre- 
cepts, the ordinances of Liguori and others concerning coitus 
influence in a high degree sexual relations in Catholic countries. 

As a rule, coitus is only legally recognized as licit in mar- 
riage. But we have seen in Chapter VI how elastic is the term 
marriage, which varies from polygamy and monogamy to poly- 
andry, and from marriage for short periods to indissoluble 
marriage, to say nothing of the cases where women are sacrificed 
on then- husbands' tombs. We have seen that religious tradi- 
tions, arising themselves from barbarous customs, play a great 
part ui conjugal law. It is only by infinite trouble that the 
principle of civil marriage has made its way in modern civilized 
states. Even to-day, religious marriage is in some countries 
the only form of union which is legally recognized. These 



370 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

simple facts show to what extent we are still hidebound by 
tradition. 

The idea that marriage is a divine institution and that man 
has the right to contract, but not to dissolve it, is still a wide- 
spread belief, however bizarre it may be. We shall not enter 
here into the detail of the religious forms of marriage, which is 
referred to in Chapters VI and XII. 

It is evident, from our modern and scientific point of view, 
which is purely human and social, that civil law only can be 
recognized as valid. Religious forms and ceremonies must be 
considered as belonging to a private domain. . For this reason 
they concern neither the State nor society, and should be 
refused all legal character; for it is our duty to strive and lib- 
erate humanity from the tyranny of all imposed creeds, as we 
should combat all so-called State religion. 

Civil Marriage. — What then is civil marriage, and what ought 
it to be? Our actual civil marriage is the result of trials and com- 
promises which require improvement. It is a contract between 
two persons of opposite sex whose mutual object is the repro- 
duction of the human species. In this contract the law is 
unfortunately too much concerned with the personal relations of 
the two contracting parties, and too little with the interests of 
their eventual posterity, which necessitates care and attention 
on the part of the social legislator. Moreover, the traditional 
conception of the dependence of woman disturbs the pmity and 
justice of civil marriage. 

In my opinion, the first fundamental principles of civil mar- 
riage should be absolute legal equality of the two conjoints and 
complete separation of property. The momentary amorous in- 
toxication of a woman should not allow a man to appropriate 
her property in whole or in part; only truly barbarous laws could 
permit such iniquity, and they should be banished from all the 
codes of civilized countries. Moreover, in countries where 
woman enjoys important rights, the community of property 
furnishes those who are unscrupulous with the means of com- 
pletely despoiling their husbands. 

Further, in common conjugal life, the domestic work of the 
wife should not be considered as obligatory and requiring no 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 371 

special remuneration. Her work has as much right to be con- 
sidered as that of the husband, and should be entered to the 
wife as an asset. 

Community of property is so immoral that it should be 
considered invalid in case of ulterior dispute, when it has been 
instituted by private contract. It is the business of the con- 
joints to put it in practice if they wish, so long as they arc of 
one mind. But when dissensions or divorce take place, it only 
injures the one who has remained honest, and at the same time 
the children. 

This is why such contracts ought never be definitely binding 
to the conjoints. Even if the marriage is not unhappy, the 
extravagances or blunders of one of the conjoints may ruin the 
whole family, in the case of common property. 

The duration of marriage is very important. If a marriage 
contract exacts sexual fidelity till death, divorce is nonsense. 
Yet, in practice, it is obvious cruelty to keep two individuals 
legally bound together who can no longer live with each other. 
Thus, the provision and Hcense of divorce are necessities of civil 
law which are certainly not ideal, but which cannot be passed 
over without favoring family distm'bance and without sanction- 
ing illegality and evil. 

Among the most frequent causes of divorce are desire for 
change in the husband, venereal diseases, disputes, incompati- 
bility of temper, mental disorders, immorality, ill-treatment and 
crime. The sterility of one of the conjoints and incapacity for 
coitus may also be mentioned as reasons for divorce, although 
in certain cncumstances, as we shall see, limited polyandry or 
polygyny may be much more humane than divorce. 

As soon as divorce is admitted, important and complicated 
questions of law arise when there are children. We shall refer 
to these later. The legal license of complete divorce thus trans- 
forms marriage into a temporary contract, which is not so far 
removed as one would think from the ideal relations of free love. 

We will examine the circumstances which, apart from the pro- 
creation of children, may attribute legal importance to the sex- 
ual relations of two persons. I must first of all observe that, if 
it wishes, civil legislation can very well create a state of things 



372 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

which gives to children born outside marriage the same rights 
and the same social position as legitimate children, and I will 
even add that such social equality would respond to the most 
elementary sentiments of human rights, if these were not 
already influenced in advance by prejudice and mysticism. 

Minors. — Civil law should stipulate that minors have not the 
right to marry. This may appear cruel in certain cases, but 
society has the right and the duty to intervene. Minors should 
be protected against all sexual abuse. A young girl under 
the age of seventeen and a boy under eighteen or twenty should 
be prevented from all sexual relations. This is a postulate of 
individual and social hygiene and consequently of all healthy 
matrimonial law. 

Lunatics. — The same applies to lunatics, who are legally 
comparable to minors. Have we the right to forcibly separate 
a married couple, or a couple living in concubinage, because one 
of the conjoints has become insane, when the other does not 
wish for separation? In Germany the procedure of nullity of 
marriage has been invented for these cases, but without gaining 
much. I shall return to this point in connection with another 
subject, but I may remark here that it is not the continuation 
of marriage nor that of sexual connection which injures society, 
but only the procreation of children. Therefore it is only the 
procreation of children which should be legally prohibited, and 
sexual connection only when the healthy conjoint agrees to 
its suppression, or when the interests of the afflicted one neces- 
sitate it. 

In the future these particular cases may be regulated in the 
most convenient and humane way possible. 

Certain bodUy infirmities which one of the conjoints has con- 
cealed from the other, or of which he was not himself aware, 
should also impair the validity of the marriage contract. Such 
are chronic infectious diseases, especially venereal, impotence 
in the man and sterility in the woman, when the cause was pre- 
viously known. But here again, the law should only intervene 
at the request of the person injured, and to take certain measures 
to prevent the procreation of abortions, without interfering with 
sexual connection. 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 373 

Adultery. — An important question is that of adultery. Here 
again, we are of opinion that the law has not performed its duty. 
Proved adultery, when fidelity has been promised by contract 
should give the injured party the right of immediate and abso- 
lute divorce. 

Certain forms of adultery, which take place with the assent 
of the two conjoints, have in reahty the character of bigamy 
and should neither be recognized by civil nor penal law. I will 
cite as an example, the case where two conjoints wish to live 
together for various reasons, while the impotence, disease or 
sterility of one of them induces him to concede to the other 
liberty of sexual connection with a third person, apart from 
marriage. In such a case neither society nor any one else is 
injured and all motive for legal intervention is wanting (vide 
Andre Couvreur: La Graine). 

Divorce. — The question of divorce becomes extremely diffi- 
cult when one of the conjoints wishes for it and the other does 
not, and when no other reason exists for determining the mar- 
riage. We are here concerned with the malicious caprices of 
the god of love, from which the world will never be free. 

In my opinion, the law in such cases can only do one thing, 
and that is to protect the rights of the children, if there are 
any, and to compel the inconstant conjoint to provide for their 
noiuishment. 

The law should also protect the pecuniary and other civil 
rights of the conjoint who wishes to continue life in common. 
Here especially we can recognize the necessity for the separa- 
tion of property. On the other hand, I am convinced that it is 
useless to maintain at any price a union which one party does 
not wish for. In practice no good results from it; it is rather a 
moral question than a question of law. 

In such cases we may observe the despair of the conjoint who 
has remained faithful, both in the marital and legal relations of 
marriage. The law cannot do everything, and here it is power- 
less; all that it can do is to exact delay and attempt at recon- 
ciliation, which sometimes succeeds. 

The Right to Satisfaction of the Sexual Appetite.— We now 
come to a delicate question. The right to satisfy the sexual 



374 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

appetite must necessarily be restricted in more than one respect 
if injury to third parties is to be avoided. If we except certain 
pathological cases, the chief diflEiculty lies in the fact that the 
normal sexual appetite can only be satisfied by the cohabitation 
of two persons, and that what satisfies the one may often injure 
or deeply wound the other, and even the children. The matter 
may go so far as to concern penal law, and we shall refer to it 
again in this connection. But, even from the point of view of 
civil law, permission to satisfy the sexual appetite must neces- 
sarily depend on the consent of both parties. In my opinion no 
exception to this rule can be tolerated. 

It is not enough to protect minors; it is also necessary to 
prevent the abuse of the persons of adults against their will. 
The institution of so-called Christian marriage still contains 
barbarous dispositions in this respect, the wife being generally 
obliged to surrender herseK to her lord and master as often as 
he pleases. This is the dark side of the picture which exacts 
sexual fidelity in man. 

Inversely, for physiological reasons, a very erotic and sex- 
ually exacting woman cannot obtain satisfaction, man being 
incapable of commanding erections voluntarily. She can only 
bring an action for divorce if she can prove that her husband is 
completely impotent. 

It is sufficient to reflect on these facts to see how difficult is 
the regulation of sexual connection by law. The legislation of 
details in this domain becomes of necessity an injustice. 

We have already considered the great individual variability 
of the sexual appetite. Attempts to regulate it by the rules of 
a monogamous matrimonial code are absurd and impracticable. 
With all the respect due to the moral sentiments of Tolstoi, we 
are obliged to declare that his ascetic opinions on sexual rela- 
tions are only the dreams of an enthusiast. 

When a libidinous man marries a young girl who is sexually 
frigid, and when coitus continues to be a horror to his wife, it is 
quite as cruel to demand continence in the husband as sub- 
mission in his wife. In such cases, the conditions can only be 
made tolerable by divorce, consent to concubinage, or bigamy, 
when a relative adaptation cannot be obtained by mutual 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 375 

concessions. At present our prejudices only allow divorce in 
such cases. 

When a man and woman are already tied by pregnancy or by 
a child, and when, apart from the differences in their sexual 
appetites, love and concord reign between them, separation 
would be cruel. 

I readily agree that such extreme circumstances should not be 
the rule, and that in many cases the one who is the more erotic 
can restrain himself, and the one who is cold become accustomed 
to coitus. Nevertheless, in the present chapter we are not 
concerned with morals but with rights, and we have only to 
reply to the question of knowing what should be done when, in 
sexual connection between two conjoints, one desires it and the 
other does not. 

The concentration of sexual passion on a single individual, 
which is generally good from the social point of view, is fatal in 
these special cases. A man falls passionately in love with a 
woman, or a woman with a man, but instead of being reciprocal 
this love is despised by the other. Such a misfortune, which 
often leads to the most tragic consequences, not only in novels 
but also in real life, is only reparable by the renunciation of the 
one who loves. It is surely less cruel to renounce a proposed 
union than to become the sexual prey of a person one does not 
love. It is, therefore, inhuman and immoral, as much in reli- 
gion as in poetiy, to preach in any form, the exclusiveness of 
sentiments, the indissolubility of monogamous marriage, and 
the immutability of love. 

It has often been stated that a woman can only love once in 
her life. Such a false and cruel generalization must be ener- 
getically opposed. It is the business of sentimental poets to 
delude themselves with such sentiments, but those who think 
it a duty to adhere to dogmas of this kind are to be pitied. It 
is not only death or illness of one of the conjoints, dissensions 
and infidelity, which may cause separation of a sexual union, 
but as is frequently the case, rejected love may transform into 
perpetual martyrdom the life of a person imbued with such 
ideas. The ascetic sentimentalism which results from this has 
a strong element of suggestion which is bad to cultivate. 



376 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

If we would give the one who does not love the absolute right 
of repelling the sexual advances of the other, not only the law 
but morality should in return allow the rejected lover to make 
another choice, where his desire for love will find an echo. 

At the present day many people, especially women, prefer to 
endure their unhappiness and even that of their children to the 
opprobrium to which they are often exposed by public opinion 
in divorce or remarriage, or even in becoming engaged to another 
person, when their love has been rejected. It is, therefore, the 
duty of the legislator to banish from the law everything which 
may appear to sanction such opprobrium. 

Most laws recognize not only impotence, but also assault, 
cruelty, venereal disease, adulteiy, etc., as grounds for divorce, 
but the pressure of public opinion causes the existing laws to 
be too little used. We must remember that such violations of 
conjugal duties give the injured party the right of claiming 
damages. 

Nevertheless, we may say that the simplest civil action by 
one conjoint against the other is veritably monstrous when it is 
not accompanied by an action for divorce. When once the 
couple have come to legal disputes, their marriage is in reality 
dissolved and its continuation is an absurdity. 

Venereal Diseases. — A very important question from the 
humanitarian and hygienic point of view is that of venereal 
disease. A man (or woman) who knows himself (or herself) 
to be affected with a venereal disease in an infectious state, and 
who in spite of this has connection with a woman, should be 
regarded as a criminal, at least if the woman with whom he has 
connection is not affected with the same disease. 

Here the law should intervene by awarding heavy damages to 
the party who has been infected; eventually it may be treated 
as a criminal offense. In such cases claim should be made by 
the injured party, but unfortunately this is seldom done owing 
to feelings of shame. In the future, however, we may hope 
that the law may be improved for the benefit of humanity, for 
this would be one of the most efficacious means of combating 
venereal disease, and hence avoiding much misfortune for 
families and children. 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 377 

It would also be desirable to prevent th.e procreation of 
syphilitic infants, for instance, by the use of preventatives 
(vide Chapter XIV). 

Prostitution.— Another difficult question is that of the rela- 
tion of civil law to prostitution. All State regulation of prosti- 
tution is to be absolutely condemned; but what position should 
civil law take up with regard to free prostitution? We have 
already seen what an abominable social evil is this commerce in 
human bodies, as regards social morahty. But it is absolutely 
useless to try and abolish this commerce without attacking its 
lord and master — inoney. The venality of man implies the 
commerce of his body, and as long as everything can be got for 
money, coitus can be bought. It is, therefore, this venality 
which must be attacked, not only by condemning it in words 
but by cutting its roots. If the State will not withdraw its 
protecting hand from prostitution, it might at least combat 
proxenetism and the public manifestations of prostitution, by aU 
the legal and administrative measures at its disposal. It would 
thus reduce the matter to intimate personal relations. 

Let us hope that, little by little, a social organization more 
just to labor and wages, combined with the prohibition of 
alcoholic drinks, will, in the future, annihilate the causes of 
commerce in human bodies. 

Children as a Reason for Civil Marriage. — To resume; we find 
that civil marriage should, by progressive reforms, become a 
much more free contract than it is at present, having for its 
object a cormnon sexual life. The law should abandon its 
useless and often harmful chicanery concerning the questions of 
sexual relations and love, and regulate more carefully the duties 
of parents toward their children, and thus protect future gen- 
erations against the abuse of the present generation. 

The difference which exists between marriage and free love 
should gradually disappear, by instituting natural intimate 
relations on the basis of sentiments of social morality, instead 
of maintaining the pretended divine origin of a social institution. 
It is difficult to avoid a smile when we hear the term "divine 
institution" applied to the marriage of a rich girl with a man 
who has been bought for her. (Vide Chapter X.) 



378 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Vai'ious propositions have been made to give more dignity to 
the unions of free love, which now exist and which always have 
existed. Modern women have remarked that the absurd cus- 
tom of naming the celibate woman differently to the married 
stigmatizes in society a number of poor women and innocent 
children, and that it would be quite as just to apply the 
term "damoiseau" to celibate men as "mademoiselle" to non- 
married girls. An unmarried woman who has a child, and who 
has only committed the sin of obeying nature, is branded with 
the stamp of shame. 

It is the children who constitute the true bond of marriage 
and give it a legal character. When there are no children all 
legal and State interference with conjugal affairs loses its sense 
so long as no one is injured, and civil marriage can then be 
greatly simplified. I maintain that so long as a sterile union, 
of whatever kind, between responsible persons is voluntary, 
provokes no conflict between those who have contracted it, and 
causes no injury to a third party, the law has no right to meddle 
with it; because this union does not concern society nor any of 
its members, excepting the two parties interested, who are in 
accord. 

At the present time, in many countries, the existing laws can 
be utilized to form marriage contracts stipulating separation of 
property, the right of each of the conjoints to the produce of his 
or her work, as well as certain reciprocal rights and duties be- 
tween the parents and children. Matters can thus be arranged 
so as to correct more or less the defects of the law. 

Marriage of Inverts. — A peculiar and characteristic phenome- 
non is the ardent desire of many sexual perverts, especially 
inverts, to become secretly engaged or married to the abnor- 
mal homosexual object of their love. It is needless to say that 
there can be no question of legal regulation of such pathological 
marriages. But the law may ignore them when they do no 
harm to any one, and regard them as private affairs, especially 
when they prevent much worse evils, such as the marriage of 
an invert to a normal individual. 

Civil Rights of Children. Matriarchism. — As we have already 
said, it is the children who constitute the real phylogenetic and 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 379 

psychological bonds in marriage and the family, bonds which 
are deeply rooted in human nature. This is so true that among 
many savage peoples, if not in most, marriage is not considered 
legal as long as it is sterile. Even among civilized people sterile 
women are generally regarded as of less value. We may, there- 
fore, regard the article in the Code Napoleon which forbids 
inquiry into paternity as an unnatural measm*e, or as a mon- 
strosity of civil law. 

Two human beings who procreate others contract common 
duties and responsibility of the highest importance. They are, 
perhaps, the highest social duties that man can assume. Is it 
not then infamous and unnatural to legaUy liberate one only of 
the procreators, the man, from all his responsibilities, simply 
because certain religious or civil formalities were omitted before 
procreation? 

Is the man less guilty than the woman in procreation apart 
from marriage, if we can use the term guilt in such cases? Is it 
not a ridiculous and cruel irony to call natural children those 
born apart from marriage? Perhaps legitimate children are 
supernatural, or unnatural! Is it not infamous to brand with 
the seal of shame, even before their birth, poor illegitimate chil- 
dren, and to confirm this indignity by making them bear their 
mother's name instead of their father's? 

The most elementary natural law exacts that all children, 
whether "legitimate" or " illegitimate, " should have the same 
social rights, and that they should bear either the name of their 
real father or that of their mother; the latter denomination 
would be the more natural and logical. Denomination by the 
maternal line corresponds to the system of matriarchism (Chap- 
ters VI and XIX), which is often met with among savage races, 
and which is more just and leads to less abuse than patriarch- 
ism. Moreover, when women shall have obtained their proper 
rights, there will be an end of the exclusive authority of one of 
the conjoints in marriage. 

Equality in the rights of the two sexes will naturally lead to 
denomination in the maternal line, for reasons of simplicity, 
the mother being more closely related to the child than the 
father. Maternity may, no doubt, be sometimes uncertain, as 



380 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

in the case of foundlings or changelings, but on the whole it is 
infinitely more easy to establish than paternity. It is sufficient 
for the mother to have sexual connection with two men at the 
time of conception to render paternity doubtful. Again, the 
mother has a number of pains, cares and dangers to undergo in 
the course of the procreation and education of children, which 
the father escapes. Nature thus gives the mother the right to 
give her name to the family. Our legislation is unfortunately 
far from recognizing such natural right. We may nevertheless 
form a primary proposition, because in my opinion its recogni- 
tion would avoid much complicated litigation : , 

In nature, whenever the offspring of an animal have a 'pro- 
tracted and dependent infancy, it is the duty of the parents to 
nourish them and bring them up. To allow human parents to 
dispense with this duty, on the grounds of badly constructed and 
unnatural social theories, is to encourage promiscuity, and conse- 
quently degeneration of society. It is easy to change social cus- 
toms which are only based on artificial dogmas sanctioned by 
tradition, fashion and habit, whether they are of a religious nature 
or otherwise. But a social organization can never violate with 
impunity the true laws of human nature which are deeply rooted 
in our phylogenetic instincts, without disastrous effects. 

In Chapters VI and VII we have given irrefutable proof that 
family life and the sentiments of sympathy between husband 
and wife, parents and children, constitute the phylogenetic basis 
of the sexual relations of humanity. Whatever may be the 
egoistic polygamous instincts of man, we can affirm that a 
natural and true monogamy constitutes the highest and best 
form of his sexual relations and of his love. No doubt there are 
many exceptions which must be taken into account. It is 
absurd to shut our eyes to the fact that our degenerate social 
customs have created unnatural circumstances in which parents 
behave shamefully toward their children, exploiting them, 
training them systematically to mendacity, prostitution and 
crime, or else Ul-treating them. We even see unnatural parents, 
to save legal consequences, get rid of children who inconvenience 
them by the aid of slow and coldly calculated martyrdom, which 
leads them to certain death. It is, therefore, necessary to estab- 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 381 

lish special legal provision for all these exceptional cases, to 
protect children against the power of unworthy parents and all 
forms of abuse. 

I must here draw attention to the impulse which has recently 
been given to Austrian legislation on the protection of children, 
by Lydia von Wolfring. The State brings up, in philanthropic 
institutions, children who have been maltreated, neglected or 
abandoned, after removal from their unworthy parents, but 
without relieving the latter of their duty in providing nour- 
ishment. According to Miss Wolfring's system, they are cared 
for by honest couples without children who wish for them, under 
the supervision of the aforesaid institutions. In this way the 
children enjoy family life. 

For educational reasons, the natural family may be imitated 
in these artificial ones, by giving to each couple children of both 
sexes and different ages. The result is perfect: I have seen in 
Vienna artificial families of ten children formed in this way. 
This shows again the rule confirmed by the exception; it would 
be better for the good seed to be more fruitful and the bad 
sterile. 

The normal condition must, however, always be for parents 
to bring up their own children. But here the State and the 
school should come to their aid, and even intervene with author- 
ity; for society is under the obligation of educating its children 
to a certain degree of culture, and maternal or paternal authority 
should not have the right to prevent or even attenuate this 
social work. Obligatory and gratuitous education is thus a 
duty of the State which is becoming more and more recognized 
everyivhere, although it is still very incomplete and often badly 
carried out. 

The State should, moreover, protect the children by restrict- 
ing the power of parents more than is done at present. The 
child should not be allowed to become an object for exploitation 
by its parents. It has also the right to be protected against all 
unmerited punishment and iU-treatment. Corporal punishment, 
which is still practiced in some schools, is a relic of barbarism 
which ought to disappear. 

The State should severely enforce the duty of the procreators 



382 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

of children to nourish their offspring. Rich or poor, no father 
or mother should escape this duty, whether the child is legiti- 
mate or illegitimate. In our imperfect social condition, it is 
still much too easy for the man to escape and abandon his 
child to the mother, or to public charity. He should be com- 
pelled to provide for the life and education of his children, 
whether legitimate or illegitimate, if he does not bring them up 
himself. If unable to provide money, he should do the equiva- 
lent in labor. Such measures, strictly enforced, would be more 
efficacious than all the complicated laws on sexual relations, in 
maintaining monogamy and fidelity. 

I repeat, that these measures should apply to all unworthy 
parents from whom we are obliged to remove the children. 
These parents are not always of the poorer class. 

It may be objected that I am unjust in charging such duties 
to poor people who can often hardly keep themselves. I agree 
that in the present state of society it is quite impossible for many 
parents to undertake such important duties. But duty means 
right, and it is evident that we must place rights by the side of 
the duties which we impose on parents. 

True justice in this question can only be attained by the 
essential progress of socialism. By socialism, I do not mean 
certain vague communistic doctrines, nor the Utopias of anar- 
chists who imagine that "man was born good," but simply an 
essential social progress in the struggle against the domination 
of individual capital, that is to say, usury applied to the labor 
of others owing to the possession of means of production, which 
is now left to speculators. Men should be enabled to enjoy the 
product of their labor, so that they can lead a human life worthy 
of the name, in sexual matters as in others. But this is not all. 

From the social point of view, it is absolutely unjust that 
men who procreate children should alone bear the burden of 
the future generation. We know the egoistic proverb of the 
celibates, who say: "I have the right to take life easily, to enjoy 
myself and be idle, if I renounce the happiness of having chil- 
dren, either of my own accord or from necessity." This pro- 
verb, which may be transposed into "after me the deluge," 
cannot be recognized by any healthy social legislation. It is 



i RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 383 

the duty of the State to reheve large families, to facilitate the 
procreation of healthy children, and to impose more work and 
taxes (for instance, artificial families) on sterile individuals. 
The old laws were better than ours in this respect. 

I have mentioned above the excellent custom, which exists 
at the present day in Norway, of only charging half-price on 
I the boats to married women and other female members of the 
same family. I cannot here enter into the details of this ques- 
tion, but if such reforms are some day reahzed, if universal com- 
pulsory education, pensions for old age, orphans and invahds, 
etc., are introduced, then no man will have valid motives for 
escaping the duty of feeding his children and bringing them up 
decently in family life. This will be left only to the idle and 
vicious. 

Moreover, I can support my propositions by facts. If we 
compare the nature of delinquents, abandoned children, vaga- 
bonds, etc., in a country where little or nothing has been done 
for the people (Russia, Galicia, Vienna, etc.), with that of the 
same individuals in Switzerland, for example, where much has 
already been done for the poor, we find this result : In Switzer- 
land, these individuals are nearly all tainted with alcoholism or 
pathological heredity; they consist of alcoholics, incorrigibles, 
and congenital decadents, and education can do little for them, 
because nearly aU those who have a better hereditary founda- 
tion have been able to earn their living by honest work. In 
Russia, Galicia, and even in Vienna, we are, on the contrary, 
astonished to see how many honest natures there are among the 
disinherited, when they are provided with work and education. 

This fact speaks more than the contradictory statements 
which the fanatics of party politics hurl at each other's heads. 

Inquiry into Paternity.— It will be objected that inquiry into 
paternity is often very difficult and dangerous. I do not deny 
this; but, when women have obtained their natural rights, and 
when the education of young girls is guided by the principles 
which we have enunciated in Chapter XVII, the matter will 
become much easier. Moreover, even now, we can with energy 
and good will determine paternity in most cases. Although the 
great improvement in means of transport assists fugitives, it also 



384 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

favors the discovery and arrest of individuals all over the world. 
International relations between all civilized states are improv- 
ing from day to day. When the world is more completely 
conquered by civilization, we may hope that it will become 
increasingly difficult for evildoers to escape their duties. 

Regarding this question from all points of view it is impossible 
for us to give up this primordial condition for the preservation 
of human society, which consists in making parents responsible 
for the nourishment and education of their children. 

The famous ideas of phalanstery and promiscuity, so often 
advanced, originated in theoretical and dogmatic minds which 
had lost their instinctive sense of human nature, and ignored 
what natural science and ethnology have revealed to us. 

But the responsibility of parents extends to another domain 
— the duty of not procreating children who are unhealthy in 
body and mind. We shall return to this question later on. 

Guardianship. — An excellent institution of our present legis- 
lation is that of the guardianship of orphans, lunatics, etc. It 
requires to be developed extensively and with care. On the 
contrary, an evil custom is the right accorded by certain countries 
to parishes charged with poor and abandoned orphans, of deliv- 
ering them by public tender to the man who offers the lowest 
pension — and only requires them for work. This system results 
in odious abuse, such as neglect, mendicity and ill-treatment. 

The fate of illegitimate children who are "farmed out" is 
still worse. A tacit alliance is established between rapacity on 
the one hand and social sexual hypocrisy on the other. A num- 
ber of infanticides and abortions result, either from poverty, or 
from sentiments of shame due to our moral customs. Here, 
civil law and penal law should combine and take energetic 
humanitarian measures to put a stop to this sad abuse. An 
excellent institution is that of homes in the country established 
for unmarried mothers and their children, and for abandoned 
mothers in general. 

Free Love and Civil Marriage. — ^When all the propositions we 
have drawn up have been realized by social legislation, the 
difference which now exists between marriage and free love will 
be little more than a form. The consequences of these two 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 385 

kinds of union will become the same, both for parents and 
children; the only distinction will consist in the existence or 
non-existence of official control. True monogamy will lose 
nothing, but will gain much. 

We shall not then have obligatory monogamy as at present 
absolute in form, artificially maintained by the aid of prostitu- 
tion, that is by the most disgusting form of promiscuity which 
renders monogamy illusory; but we shall have in its place a 
relative monogamy much more solidly built on the natural 
rights of the two sexes, it is true more free in form, but funda- 
mentally much stronger in the natural and instinctive duties 
dictated by a truly free and reasoned union, as well as by the 
duties by which parents will be bound to their children. 

Form and Duration of Civil Marriage.— Although it may be 
true that monogamy constitutes the most normal and natural 
form of family union, and offers the best conditions for lasting 
happiness, both for parents and children, we must be blindly 
prejudiced not to admit that it is unnatural to consider it as the 
only sheet anchor in sexual relationship, the only admissible 
form of marriage, and to make it a straight-jacket. Histoiy and 
ethnography show us that polygamous races are strongly devel- 
oped and are still developing; on the other hand, it is true that 
polyandrous races degenerate. 

Again, impartial observation of our Christian monogamy 
shows us that it depends to a great extent on appearances, that 
it is full of trickery and hypocrisy, and that to legally enforce 
it for life must be considered as absolutely impossible. 

In Catholic countries which prohibit divorce, the latter has 
been replaced by separation, and this becomes the most con- 
stant source of adultery. The more the laws of a country im- 
pede divorce, the more one must close one's eyes to promiscuity 
or prostitution, which has even been regulated by the State by 
the aid of proxenetism, all the while preaching monogamy in a 
loud voice. 

These bitter lessons which practice has given to the partisans 
of obhgatory monogamy, prove the absurdity of attempting to 
restrain the natural appetites of man by force and by artificial 
obstacles. That which succeeds, not without difficulty, with 



386 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

some strong characters, and more easily with naturally cold 
temperaments, is impossible to realize in the masses. 

Polyandry is usually the result of poverty, and the polyandrous 
races are little fecund and tend to disappear. The normal man 
is instinctively more polygynous than the normal woman is 
polyandrous. There are, however, cases where polyandry is 
justifiable. There are women whose sexual appetite, more or 
less pathological, is so insatiable that a normal man is incapable 
of satisfying it. 

If such women were served by several Don Juans by means of 
a free contract, this would be better than giving themselves in 
despair to prostitution (there are some prostitutes created by 
nymphomania). This system would also be better than the 
seduction of normal young girls by the Don Juans in question. 

Polygyny is still more indicated when the sterility of the 
woman or her repugnance to sexual intercourse cause family 
disturbances. 

In speaking of polygamy in Chapter VI, we have shown that 
it exists in several forms, and that these are not all so humiliating 
for the women as people think, who only know of the shameful 
abuses of the Mussulman's harem. What lowers the moral 
level of polygyny is especially the barbarous system of marriage 
by purchase, by which the women become slaves burdened with 
heavy labor, and are in a state of legal dependence. We have 
seen that polygyny has a higher moral character among certain 
Indian tribes where matriarchism rules, and where the wife is 
mistress of the house and family. The danger of degradation of 
the woman ceases when she is equal to the man as regards 
rights and property. In fact, in such a social state, polygyny 
can only constitute an exception. It is here entirely free and 
becomes all the more innocent because divorce is facilitated and 
strict laws on the feeding and education of the childi'en limit the 
male sexual appetite. 

I even venture to maintain that the stability of monogamous 
marriage, which should be based on mutual sentiments of re- 
spect and love, v/ould be much better guaranteed than hitherto 
by legal liberty of conjugal ties, and by duty to children such as 
I have proposed. If this became recognized as conventional, 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 387 

men and women fit to understand each other and love in a last- 
ing manner, would find suitable mates more easily, and would 
become united more permanently when their chains were 
voluntary. 

If marriages on trial became more frequent in the form of 
short unions, ending with separation, this would not be a great 
evil, for similar unions occur every day in a much baser form. 
Moreover, the effect of legislation with regard to children would 
put a curb on immorality and passion, which cause their worst 
effects. 

If the objection is raised that this would lead immoral people 
to avoid the procreation of children so as to enjoy more varied 
sexual pleasures, I reply that this would be beneficial, for this 
anti-social class of individuals would be eliminated by sterility, 
by a kind of negative selection. We thus place two natural 
appetites in antagonism; that of procreation on the one hand, 
and sexual enjoyment on the other. Whoever inclines to the 
first, which is the higher and tends to preserve the species, is 
obliged to restrain himself in the second, without, however, fall- 
ing into unnatural asceticism. 

Consanguineous Marriages. — To avoid injurious consanguinity, 
it is sufficient, in my opinion, to prohibit the procreation of chil- 
dren between direct and collateral relations, especially between 
parents and children and between brothers and sisters. Any- 
thing more than this is only useless chicanery. Laws which pro- 
hibit marriage between relations by alliance are absurd, for 
instance those which forbid a widower to marry his sister-in-law 
(deceased wife's sister), etc. Among some peoples such unions 
are ordained by law! 

There is also no valid reason to prohibit unions between first 
cousins or between uncles and aunts, with nephews and nieces. 
There is nothing to prove that such marriages are injurious to the 
offspring. What is harmful is the accumulation of hereditary 
taints, whether they occur in relations or persons who are stran- 
gers to each other. Nevertheless, the perpetuation of consan- 
guineous unions in the same family is not as a rule advisable. 

Restriction of Personal Liberty in Sexual Life Among Harmful 
or Dangerous Individuals.— The inability of men to distinguish, 



388 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

among the motives of the acts of theu- fellows, what is abnormal, 
unliealthy, impulsive or obsessional, from what is healthy and 
normal is one of the most deplorable phenomena in social life, 
and greatly hinders the action of reformatory civil legislation 
and rational administrative measures. 

The passionate, confused and unreasonable sentiments of the 
masses give expression, according to the impulse of the mo- 
ment, to two contradictory absurdities and injustices. On the 
one hand, they cry out against arbitrary constraint of individual 
liberty, against illegal restriction or detention, when competent 
judges or experts try to limit the movements of dangerous indi- 
viduals affected with mental disorders, but who appear sane to 
the incompetent public; or when, to insure social safety, they 
send these individuals to a lunatic asylum, or limit their dan- i 
gerous liberty in some other way. On the other hand, when j 
such an individual goes free, thanks to the intervention of 
incompetent meddlers, and commits assassination, violation, 
incendiarism, or all kinds of sadic atrocities, or even only ter- 
rorizes his own family, these same people, suddenly animated 
by contrary sentiments of vengeance, imperiously demand an 
exemplary expiation and all possible reprisals. This sometimes 
goes as far as torture of the culprit or burning at the stake, as 
with the lynchers in America. 

It is very difficult for the psychiatrist, who is the competent 
expert in these matters, to make truth and impartiality prevail. 
He is nearly always suspected of seeing madness everywhere, and 
of being afflicted with a mania for sending sane persons to 
asylums! In reality, he desires to take measures which are at 
the same time humane for the insane and protective for society, 
so as to treat as equitably and reasonably as possible the unfor- 
tunates who are more or less irresponsible for their acts; he 
wishes to see established laws and organizations which will 
efficiently protect the insane against themselves and against 
the exploitation and abuse of others, at the same time preventing 
them from doing injury to society. 

On the other hand, society and -sAdth it the old style of jurist, 
in their ignorant dread of psychopathological matters, endeavor 
to take all possible measures to protect the sane pubfic against 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 389 

the alienists, thus completely neglectmg the true interests of 
the insane as well as those of society, while fighting against a 
phantom! The anxiety and mistrust of the public in this mat- 
ter are continually kept up by ''brigand stories" related by 
certain insane or semi-uisane persons, which are spread by the 
press, always eager for scandal, or by pamphlets which the 
cheapness of printing places ^vithin the reach of the poorest! 

These phenomena of pubhc psychology greatly hinder the 
most urgent reforms. The public regard asylums with horror, 
and the path of the ahenist is thorny, for he is exposed to con- 
tinual accusations and threats whatever he may do, a situation 
which" does not encourage him to suggest bold innovations. 

Ignorant of psychology and especially of psychopathology, 
the public and with it the formal jurist, the slave of codes (I 
am only speaking of honest lawyers, and not of the number 
who abuse the situation to obtain oratorical and other success 
and crown themselves with laurels), regard themselves as the 
champions of individual Hberty, and are unable to perceive that 
the net result of their efforts is, on the one hand, to condemn 
a considerable number of insane and crazy persons to prison, 
and on the other hand to assure liberty and impunity to the 
most dangerous individuals, always ready to commit the most 
atrocious crimes, or at any rate to make martyrs of a number 
of patient and innocent beings, hard-working and healthy in 
mind, especially women and children. 

The alienists, who see clearly into all this misery, easily be- 
come pessimistic in then' impotence against the want of sense, 
ignorance and unconscious passion of the masses, and even com- 
petent authorities. The natural cowardice of men often makes 
them shut their eyes to avoid nuisances, and causes them to 
take no action against the most dangerous monsters, and 
especially against those who are most mischievous by their pens. 
This is why the martyrdom of unfortunate women and children 
illtreated by chronic alcoholics, sadists and other neuropaths 
or psychopaths, never comes to an end, owing to the stupid 
outcry against so-called violation of individual liberty. 

On this soil, sexual atrocities and crimes, largely increased by 
drink, play an important part. Without troubling myself about 



390 THE SEXUAL QUESTION _ 

prejudice and indignation I shall say in a few words what 
appears to me to be urgent: 

So long as jurists and legislators will not study either psy- 
chology or psychiatry, and will not submit all habitual criminals 
and all dangerous men to an expert examination, all serious 
reform in this domain will remain impossible. To improve the 
present state of affairs a common understanding between jurists 
and alienists is urgent; but this can only be attained by jurists 
making a study of psychology, and a kind of practical clinic 
among imprisoned criminals. How can one judge and con- 
demn one's neighbor without having the least idea of the state 
of mind of these pariahs of society? All the jurists who have 
the welfare of humanity at heart, should support the interna- 
tional union of penal law, and the efforts of men like Professor 
Franz von Liszt, Gaukler of Caen, and many other courageous 
reformers.* 

It is needless to say that it is not sufficient to combat the 
excesses of criminal and dangerous individuals, such as sadists, 
for example, by placing them under supervision and preventing 
them doing harm. It is also necessary to attack the cause of 
the evil by preventing their germs from being reproduced, degen- 
erated as they usually are by the blastophthoria of their alcoholic 
parents (vide Chapter I). The first question, which is purely 
legal and administrative, does not concern us here; but I may 
be allowed to say a few words on the second. 

Zealous and advanced reformers have proposed castration in 
such cases, which has provoked a general cry of indignation. 
This has been discussed in certain American states. The hyper- 
sesthetic sentiment of our modern civilization cannot tolerate 
such ideas, while ancient races such as the Islanntes provided, 
and still provide eunuchs as sei'vants, who are free from danger 
for their wives, and think little of hanging or decapitating men 

*Vide Delbruck, Gerichtliche Psychopathologie (Joh. Ambr. Barth, 
Leipzig, 1897). — Delbruck, Die Pathologische Luge und der pyschisch 
abnorme Schvdndler (Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart, 1891). — Forel, Crime et 
anomalies mentales constitutionnelles (Geneve, 1902, H. Ki'mdig,).^ — Kolle, 
Gerichtlich psychiatrische Gidachten (from the clinic of Professor Forel at 
Zurich), Stuttgart, 1894, Ferdinande Enke. — Von Liszt, Schutz der Gesell- 
schaft gegen Gemeingefahrliche {MoTiatsschrift filr Kriminalpsychologie und 
Strafrechtsreform) . — Forel, Die verminderte Zurechnungsfahigkeit (die 
Zukunft, 1899, n° 15), etc. 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 391 

who cause them any trouble. In the same way, we are dumb 
and impassive before the butcheries of war, because they are 
fashionable, especially when we do not come in contact with 
them. The Pope himself formerly procured eunuchs in order 
to have soprano voices in his church, and did not hesitate to 
castrate young boys for this purpose. The times change and 
we change with them! 

For some years, however, castration has been employed as a 
remedy for certain disorders both in men and women, especially 
for hysteria in women. I admit here that, in an asylum which 
I superintend, I have castrated a veritable monster afflicted with 
constitutional mental disorders, taking advantage of the fact 
that he himself requested this operation to relieve him of pain 
in his seminal vesicles, but with the chief object of preventing 
the production of unfortunate children tainted with his heredi- 
tary complaint. 

Many years ago I also castrated a young hysterical girl of 
fourteen, whose mother and gi'andmother were both prostitutes, 
and who had already begun to have intercourse "^ith all the 
urchins in the street. Here again, I frankly admit that the hys- 
terical troubles of the patient served me as an excuse to prevent 
this unfortunate girl from reproducing beings who would proba- 
bly resemble her. I am of opinion that castration, or some 
more benign operation, such as dislocation of the Fallopian 
tubes in women (which renders them sterile without destroying 
the ovaries, or even attenuating the sexual appetite) should be 
performed in order to prevent the reproduction of the most 
deplorable and most dangerous beings. 

Among certain individuals, such as sadists, whose sexual 
appetite is dangerous in itself, castration would be necessary. 
In my opinion, the more benign operations are indicated in all 
individuals whose psychopathological condition in tliis domain 
is such that they are absolutely incapable of resisting their 
impulses, or of understanding the dictates of reason. By this 
means they could go free instead of being incarcerated in 
asylums. 

On the other hand, I must emphasize the fact that such 
measures, the personal consequences of which are so serious, 



392 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

should only be taken in the case of absolutely dangerous, incura- 
ble individuals, concerning whose pathological state there can- 
be no doubt. I also believe that these individuals, especially 
those with sexual abnormalities, would very often consent to the 
operation, as was the case with my two patients. 

It would be a great advance if civil legislation would in such 
cases accord official recognition to castration or dislocation of 
the tubes, with the consent of the criminal or patient concerned. 
At present, our laws and regulations are such that a psycho- 
pathological monster cannot even be castrated when he wishes 
it, because medical men refuse to undertake such an operation 
without a positive medical indication of the usual kind, and 
because there is no legal protection; yet, when done in time, 
castration would often save sadists and other dangerous perverts 
from a criminal life, and society from then- crimes and those of 
their offspring. 

When it is only a question of avoiding the procreation of 
tainted children, it would be sufficient to instruct reasonable 
people in the methods of avoiding conception (vide Chapter 
XIV). 

It is important to bear in mind that modern legislation on 
marriage often favors the reproduction of criminals, lunatics 
and invalids, while it hinders the production of healthy children 
by men who are intelligent, honest and robust. \^Tien an 
abnormal or unhealthy man is married, his \vif e is obliged to sub- 
mit to the conception of tainted children. On the other hand, 
when a strong, healthy and intelligent girl is in a situation, it 
often happens that eveiything is done to prevent her marrying, 
so as not to lose her services; the more conscientious she is and 
the more attached to her masters, the more often is this likely 
to occur. 

Girls who have illegitimate children often lose their situations 
and then* honor. The consideration of cases of eveiyday occur- 
rence is sufficient to grasp the difficulty of the question. Wliat 
we require is more personal liberty for healthy, normal and 
adaptable individuals, and more restrictions for the abnormal, 
unhealthy and dangerous. The civil law of the future will have 
to take these facts into consideration, if it wdshes to keep level 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 393 

with scientific progi'ess, and prevent the instinct of the people 
having recourse to lynch law, or retaliation. 

Meanwhile, attempts have been made to get out of the diffi- 
culty by prohibiting the marriage of insane persons or by declar- 
ing their marriage null when it has already been consummated; 
or again, by admitting insanity as a cause for divorce. Such 
measures are good as makeshifts in a period of transition. They 
assume that conceptions only occur in marriage, and that mar- 
riage necessarily means procreation. But these two supposi- 
tions are false, for it is only the pressure of custom and legisla- 
tion which realizes them in part, especially in CathoHc countries. 

The civil code, in the present state of society, has at least the 
advantage of making possible the dissolution of monstrous 
unions, such as those of the absolutely insane or certain psy- 
chopaths of the worst kind. Unfortunately, divorce is as a rule 
only accorded in cases of well-marked mental disorders, while in 
reality the most atrocious unions are those which are contracted 
by crazy persons with only diminished responsibility, in whom 
the public and the law are unable to recognize or understand 
the existence of a definite mental anomaly. These people most 
often marry at a time when no one has yet recognized their true 
mental condition, or foreseen the consequences of their mar- 
riage. The unfortunate who finds herself (or himself) bound by 
such a union is then an object of endless mart3T:dom. The fre- 
quency of mental anomaUes causes them to play an immense, 
and too often um^ecognized role, in unhappy marriages. 

At the request of the mother the tribunal of Bale recently 
prohibited the marriage of a young man affected with a slight 
degree of mental weakness. This judgment was upheld by the 
Swiss tribunal for the following reasons: "Although capable of 
work, of earning his living, and of performing his military ser- 
vice, an individual may be an unsuitable subject for marriage. 
In the interests of family life and the future generation, it is the 
duty of the State to prevent the marriage of the feeble-minded, 
in order to avoid the perpetuation of a race of degenerates." I 
quote this from a journal. We can only congratulate tribunals 
which have the courage to consider the vital interests of the 
nation in their judgments. 



394 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Right of Succession. — Although right of succession has no 
direct bearing on the sexual question, it is indirectly connected 
with it thi'ough its influence on the procreation of children. 

At the present day the poor have more children than the well- 
to-do. This is because they have nothing to lose, because 
coitus is one of their few pleasures, because they are ignorant of 
the means of preventing conception, and because they hope to 
profit by their children's labor. People who have some pro])- 
erty are, on the contrary, afraid of falling into poverty throng li 
the procreation of too many children, and those who possess 
more are afraid of poverty for their offspring. The latter only 
desire a few heirs, so that after their death they can leave each 
a fortune suitable to their social position. 

In France, especially, well-to-do people often limit their 
families to two. The parents have the unhappy idea that a 
certain fortune must be assured to their children to enable them 
to live in comfort. They do not understand that the necessity 
for a man to earn his living by work is the chief condition for a 
healthy existence. 

Again, among very rich people there is often the fear that a 
large fortune may lose its power when divided, and thus dimin- 
ish the influence of the family. 

It is obvious that great poverty and great wealth constitute 
two extreme social evils. It is deplorable for a child to grow 
up with the idea that he will inherit a large fortune, enjoy life 
without working, and regard poor people more or less as subor- 
dinates. But it is still worse for a man to remain all his life an 
object for exploitation, in spite of the most repugnant and most 
arduous work, unless his superior faculties and good luck give 
him the chance of rising. It is also discouraging for a man to 
be unable by arduous work to obtain anything for himself or 
his wife and children, and only to work for society, and especially 
for the interests of capitalists. 

Human instinct is not sufficiently social to allow of assiduous 
and hearty work solely in the interests of the community. The 
egoistic sentiments and family instincts of man are still much 
too strong. 

If we take all these facts into consideration, the right of 



mCHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 305 

succession becomes very important. It has been attempted 
to deal with the question by progressive taxes on succession to 
large fortunes : but this is not enough. I have not the presump- 
tion to give a positive opinion on these matters which are not in 
my province, but I venture to suggest the possibility of greatly 
restricting the right of succession by postponing the right to the 
enjoyment of their heritage till the children are of an age when 
they could earn their own living; say, from twenty-five to twen- 
ty-six, so as not to interfere with their higher education. In 
this way a man would not be deprived of the pleasure of working 
for himself and his family; and every young man and young 
woman, being obliged to work at some special subject, would 
know that they could earn their living ?ifter twenty-five or 
twenty-six, without counting on their heritage. 

I do not pretend to build a new social system on this idea, for 
many propositions of the kind have already been made. I only 
wish to draw attention to one element of the problem, which 
consists in diminishing the possibility of the exploitation of man 
by man, without destroying the pleasure for work, at the same 
time favoring the procreation and education of healthy and 
capable offspring. This naturally presupposes a new moral and 
social state, in which family right would be changed and good 
education organized for all. Even then intelligent men would 
have the desire to rise above the average and bring up their 
children with the same object. This is an instinct in mental 
development which should be carefully cultivated, and not 
extinguished, by every social organization. 

In all social systems it must be recognized that certain branches 
of culture, such as scientific research and art, involve great ex- 
pense and bring little or no material reward to the scientist or 
the artist. A richer State ought to provide for these important 
branches of civilization, which always tend to higher culture. 

I have already mentioned separation of property and an 
equable division of the fruits of labor between conjoints as the 
only just basis in marriage contracts. I repeat here, that true 
justice can only be established by the recognition of equal legal 
rights for men and women. 



396 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

PENAL LAW 

Penal law is the right of punishment. It is based on the ideas 
of culpability and expiation, and these are based on the idea of 
free-will, which is itself founded on a pure illusion, as we have 
shown above. 

This simple reflection is sufficient to show the precarious posi- 
tion of our present penal law. The science of penal law has too 
long ignored the progress of humanity and of the other sciences. 
It is affected with incurable marasmus, because its foundations 
are laid in error. The idea of expiation was naturally developed 
on the basis of mysticism combined with the right of the stronger, 
and associated with the sentiment of vengeance natural to the 
low mentality of our animal ancestors. Among the latter the 
weaker was punished because he was the weaker: " Vce victis!'' 
and order was obtained by force. But the visions of human 
imagination having urged man to create a god or gods in his 
own image, he attributed to the divinity the sentiments of 
anger experienced by man, and pretended that expiation was 
required for offenses against this or that majesty or human 
idea, transformed into an offense to the divine majesty. 

This offense to the divinity was therefore only the nebulous 
expression of a developing social conscience in man, an obscure 
mixture of sentiments of wounded sjanpathy, adulation of the 
strong and great, and desire for vengeance and expiation. Till 
then man was accustomed to judge other men according to the 
right of the stronger, more or less mitigated by sentiments of 
family and friendship. His terror of natural mysteries — the 
forest, night, thunder, hurricanes, stars, etc., led him to imagine 
the intervention of occult powers, and later on of higher powers 
capable of judging good and evil actions, the ideas of good and 
evil being formerly very different from what they are at present. 
The functions of advocates or executors of the divine will were 
always, however, reserved for privileged men, who gave judg- 
ment in His name, either as priests, kings, or later on as judges. 
We may also note by the way that judgment can be given with- 
out belief in free arbitration, as is shown by the Mahometan 
fatalists and the judgments of Haroun-al-Raschid, for example. 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 397 

In fact, fatalism logically excludes the idea of free-will, for if 
everything is absolutely predetermined, the thoughts, resolu- 
tions and acts of man are also predetermined, which excludes 
all Hberty. 

Responsibility. — I have attempted to show in another work* 
that a rational penal law should in no way concern itself with the 
question of free arbitration. The fact that we feel free and re- 
sponsible is not at all sufficient to justify the doctrine of Kant. 

The question of knowing whether an absolute predestination 
(fatalism, regulating the universe in advance in all its details) 
exists or not, is a question of pure metaphysics, the solution of 
which is quite beyond human comprehension, and need not 
occupy us here. We must simply depend on the scientific 
postulate of determinism, i.e., on the law of causahty applied 
to the motives of our actions, a law which is very much like that 
of the conservation of energy, and which admits of divers pos- 
sibihties for the future, for it does not assume a knowledge of 
the first cause of the universe nor the will of a divinity. 

We shall then understand that the complication of our cere- 
bral activities, mnemic and actual, combined with the fact that 
a great part of them (and consequently of the motives for our 
actions) remain subconscious, must produce in us the illusion 
of free-will. 

On the other hand, we shall find the measure of what we are 
to understand by relative liberty, in the plastic faculties of the 
activity of the human brain, which allow it to adapt itself as 
adequately as possible to the numerous and diverse complica- 
tions of existence, and especially to social relations between 
mankind. 

The most adaptable man is the most free, especially in the 
sense of active and conscious adaptation. There are also men 
who adapt themselves passively and are easily molded. This 
passive plasticity at any rate renders them capable of submit- 
ting to everything and only provoking conflict as a last resource. 
These individuals are no doubt less free, since they obey the 
impulses of others; nevertheless, their elasticity gives them a 
certain relative liberty, because they do not feel constraint and 

* " Die Zwiechungsfahigkeit des normalen Menschen," Munich. 



398 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

easily adapt themselves to laws and other social requirements. 
But the highest form of liberty, the moral faculty of higher 
adaptation, is not that of the human fox who exploits others for 
his own profit, but that of true higher intellects, capable of adapt- 
ing their activity to the social requhements of humanity. On 
the contrary, the man who is least free is the one who, domi- 
nated by his passions and baser appetites, or by insufficiency of 
intelligence or will power, is thereby incapable of conducting 
himself reasonably, gives way to all temptations and impulses, 
falls into all kinds of snares, cannot keep to any resolution, and 
is in perpetual conflict mth society. 

What is the use of the theoretical belief in free-will in this 
case? This man feels subjectively as free, or often more free, 
than one who is more reasonable and more master of himself, 
and yet he is a slave! When, dominated by his psychic bonds, 
he violates the law, he is punished, but he himself resents the 
punishment as an injustice. The judge who condemns him and 
imagines he holds the scales of justice in equilibrium, only car- 
ries out the principles of an unjust law, a kind of mild retaliation, 
exacting moderate expiation. Or again, by exercising a right 
derived from old traditions based on religious ideas, he plays 
the part of proxy for the Deity and judges in His place. We 
might even say that a man is in reality all the more free the 
better he realizes that he is not so, i.e., that his actions depend 
on the activity of his brain! At any rate he will then be less 
often deceived and will react in a more plastic manner. 

The True Task of Penal Law ; Its Traditional Errors in the 
Sexual Question. — Penal law has only one thing to do, that is to 
cut itself free from its roots and transplant itself on a social and 
scientific soil. There would then be no longer a penal law, but 
a law protecting society against dangerous individuals, and a 
law of administration for persons incapable of conducting them- 
selves. Its task would be the complement of that of civil law. 
Henceforth the judge would cease to pass judgment on his 
neighbor and his neighbor's motives, acting as a proxy for God. 
He would no longer punish, but would content hunself with 
protecting, restraining and ameliorating. 

The history of psychiatry and sorcery proves that we are 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 399 

not exaggerating. It is not very long since the insane were 
regarded, not as persons suffering from disease, but as criminals 
and sorcerers, and were treated by punishment and exorcism. 
The ancients, on the contrary, especially certain Greek and 
Roman physicians (notably Caelius Aurelianus) had already 
recognized that insanity was a disease of the brain, and had 
distinguished its different forms. 

Even at the present day, we find among the Catholics and 
among certain Protestant sects, as among savages, a belief in 
sorcery, and if this belief got the upper hand, prosecution for 
sorcery — exorcism and other forms of cruelty — would soon 
become the fashion. 

Before the sixteenth century prosecutions for sorcery were 
universal, and remained very coimnon for a long time after- 
wards. It is only since the time of the French Revolution that 
insanity has been recognized as a mental disease. Even in the 
nineteenth century a German alienist, Heinroth, punished the 
insane like criminals. The atrocious prejudice of the people 
against the insane dates from the time of prosecution for sorcery. 

Even now we are the slaves of a prejudice which holds a 
legal conviction sufficient to dishonor the prisoner and stain 
his character for the rest of his days. Hans Leuss' book, Aus 
dem Zuchthause (From the prison), 1904, is very instructive on 
this point. Condemned to prison himself, the author makes 
some wise and dispassionate observations which give food for 
reflection. I may also quote the words of Doctor Guillaume, 
who was for a long time superintendent of the penitentiary at 
Neuchatel, and who is now director of the Swiss federal bureau 
of statistics at Berne. The question we are dealing with had 
been treated in a discussion in which I took part, and to which 
Doctor Guillaume had Hstened silently. At the conclusion, he 
said to us: ''Gentlemen, in the course of my life I have become 
acquainted with a large number of convicts, but I have never 
been able to discover among them more than two classes of indi- 
viduals; the one class were diseased, and the others . . ah! 
the others ; the more I study their cases and their personality, 
I ask myself if I should not have done as they did under the 
same circumstances!" It is unnecessary to say that Doctor 



400 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Guillaume did not mean to establish two clearly marked classes, 
for most criminals represent a mixtm'e of both; but his main 
idea gives a good idea of the question of penal law. 

How sexual questions lead to conflicts with penal law, how 
penal law judges them, and how it ought to judge them after 
what we have just said, I can only refer to what I have said con- 
cerning civil law. Our present penal law is aware of singular 
sexual crimes and often punishes them from curious motives. 

When a poor imbecile, ridiculed by women and overcome by 
his sexual appetite, copulates with a cow, the latter is not in- 
jured in any way; neither is the owner. Moreover, the question 
of property does not trouble the judge, for he punishes sodomy 
even when the culprit owns the animal. How does the law 
obtain the right to punish an act which does no harm to any 
one, nor to society, nor even to an animal? It is evidently a 
vestige of religious mysticism, something like punishment for 
sinning against the Holy Ghost. The sins of Sodom and Go- 
morrah, they say, caused the wrath of God, who destroyed these 
towns for this reason. According to the legend, sodomy was a 
vice of the inhabitants; is this why it is punished at the present 
day? But the masturbation of Onan, according to the Bible, 
also caused the wrath of God; why then do not our present 
laws institute punishment for those who practice it? 

In many of the Swiss cantons and in Germany, sexual connec- 
tion between men is prosecuted by law. The German legislators 
have even recently discussed the question whether punishment 
should be enforced only when the penis of one man is introduced 
into the anus of the other (pederasty), or whether indecent 
contact and mutual onanism are sufficient to justify punish- 
ment. 

Our penal law is thus concerned with the question whether it 
should punish or not, according as this or that mucous mem- 
brane or part of the skin is used for the satisfaction of a morbid 
sexual appetite ! These are truly singular points for a legislator 
to decide, compelled, in spite of his incompetence, to play the 
part of physiologist, anatomist and psychologist! 

If I am correctly informed, the German legislation is incon- 
sistent in punishing sexual intercourse between two men, but 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 401 

not between two women. These examples suffice to show what 
blind-alleys a penal law leads to, the basis of which is vicious 
and which is guided by the traditions of mysticism. 

Quite recently, in the Swiss journal of penal law, a jurist 
seriously upheld the necessity for the conception of a crime 
against religion! Ideas of this kind would lead us to punish 
suicide, like the Enghsh. 

We will now proceed to analyze the facts from the point of 
view of their true social value. 

Limits of Penal Law in the Sexual Domain. — If we would 
avoid injustice and ridiculous contradictions, we should keep 
to the principle that penal justice has only the right to intervene 
in cases where individuals or society are injured, or run the risk 
of being injured. It is also necessary to examine, in each case, 
whether the person who has committed the offense was not irre- 
sponsible and affected with mental disease at the time; or 
whether his responsibility was not diminished, i.e., whether he 
was not seriously abnormal without being quite insane. The 
conception of responsibility, necessarily relative, should be under- 
stood in the sense of relative liberty, which we have defined 
above. 

According to the result of the inquiry (culpabihty being 
proved) the judge will have to decide how society can be best 
protected against the repetition of such acts, and how the cul- 
prit may be most easily improved, provided he is capable of 
improvement. 

If, for example, the culprit is an inebriate, his detention in a 
home for inebriates will protect society and benefit the indi- 
vidual much better than all the fines and imprisonments at 
present in force. 

If he is an incorrigible recidivist, incapable of resisting his 
criminal impulses, the law should keep him under observation 
in a safe place, or deprive him only of certain dangerous liberties. 
It is not so difficult to decide these questions as the public im- 
agines. The antecedents of the criminal, his previous con- 
victions, and a careful study of his psychology mil nearly always 
lead to a clear diagnosis and prognosis. In this case a mutual 
understanding between psychiatrists and jurists will produce 



402 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

excellent results. It is needless to say that if it is only a case 
of transient cerebral obnubilation, such as sunstroke or som- 
nambuHsm, etc., the culprit should be acquitted. 

Rape, etc. — Normal coitus may render a penal action legiti- 
mate when it is obtained by force or stratagem (rape, abuse of a 
feeble-minded or hypnotized person, etc.). It is evident that 
measures of protection against such acts are urgent, and that 
persons abused in this way should have the right to heavy in- 
demnities. What we require is not so much extenuation of 
penalty for the culprit as greater protection for his victims. 

In cases of rape, when the woman becomes pregnant against 
her will, I am of opinion that artificial abortion should be allowed 
by law as an exceptional measure. We cannot expect a woman 
to have a child imposed upon her by a man's violence, especially 
when she is unmarried, and oblige her to bring it up, from the 
simple fact that she conceived it. It should be the same in 
cases of abduction of female minors. 

When, on the contrary, a male minor seduced by an adult 
woman, makes her pregnant, it is the woman only who is respon- 
sible for the maintenance of her child, and there are no reasons 
to accord her the right of abortion, for it is she who desired the 
sexual act. The close bonds which exist between the child and 
its mother justify such legal dispositions. 

With regard to civil laws, we have mentioned the case of 
venereal infection after coitus. In this case civil indemnity 
would be most equitable. A penal action could only be based 
on prosecution by the injured party, unless it was a question of 
directly criminal intent — infection for vengeance, for example. 

Incest. — Under the heading of consanguineous marriages, we 
have seen to what extent the conception of incest should be 
limited, in respect to civil law. The grave cases of incest are 
those between parents and children. Their normal causes are 
mental anomalies, alcoholism, proletarian promiscuity, or isola- 
tion of a family in some remote place. Incest is common, in 
Switzerland especially, among the inhabitants of isolated 
mountain chalets. I will give a few typical and genuine exam- 
ples of incest giving rise to penal actions : 

(1). A drunken and brutal husband persecuted his wife with 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 403 

excessive coitus. The latter then gave him her own daughter 
to satisfy his violence. 

(2). An inebriate woman induced her own son, aged seventeen, 
to have intercourse with her. Infuriated at the idea that his 
mother had made him her lover, he murdered her one day when 
he was drunk. Condemned as a parricide, this young man con- 
ducted himself in prison in a model manner. Alcohol, combined 
with his incestuous seduction, had made him the murderer of 
his mother. 

(3). In a family composed exclusively of imbeciles and psy- 
chopaths, some of whom were put under my care for treatment, 
incest was practiced among nearly all of them; between father 
and daughters; between mother and sons; and between broth- 
ers and sisters. 

The last case, and many others, show that incest is not the 
cause but the effect of mental disorders. This does not mean 
that the offspring of such unions are not slightly tainted by the 
mere fact of such concentrated incest, but these cases are com- 
paratively so rare that they do not contribute to any appreciable 
extent, as incest, in causing degeneration of the race; the factor 
which causes degeneration is here mental disease, which arises 
from other hereditary causes, chiefly of blastophthoric origin. 

From what we have said it results that a penal action for incest 
should only take place in the case of minors or insane persons, 
abuse of strength or power, or rape. The measures of civil law 
should suffice to reduce other cases of incest to a minimum. 

The disgust which the generality of men feel for sexual union 
between brothers and sisters, and especially between parents 
and children, is the best protection against incest. The elimina- 
tion of alcoholism, the superintendence of the insane, and the 
improvement of our social organization are much more likely 
than penal laws to lead to the gradual disappearance of incest. 

Assaults on Minors. — All assaults on minors should naturally 
be prosecuted. But prosecution should take a different form 
according as the culprit is affected with a pathological perverse 
disposition, or whether it is simply a question of abuse of confi- 
dence committed by a normal man. A master who, having no 
sexual anomaly, commits assaults on young girls, his pupils, 



404 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

should be deprived of the right of teaching in gkls' schools, for 
it is only there that he is dangerous. If, on the other hand, 
he is affected vnth. perversion (pederasty, etc.), further measures 
for protection should be taken against him, according to the 
circumstances. 

Sexual Perversions. — When we pass on to sexual perversions, 
the inconsequences and mysticism of our present penal law 
become still more apparent. This code often prosecutes and 
punishes sexual actions which do no harm to any one, or which 
two persons practice of their own accord. Such cases may be 
suitable for moral or medical treatment, but should never jus- 
tify a penal prosecution. This applies to all the manipulations 
of onanism, pederasty, masochism, fetichism, etc., which take 
place between adults by mutual agreement. 

What is the use of prosecuting inverts? It is a fortunate 
thing for society that these psycopaths are contented with their 
mutual sexual intercourse, the result of which is sterile and there- 
fore does no harm to posterity. The real crime is the marriage 
of an invert to an individual of the opposite sex, and yet this 
crime is sanctioned by the law! It is a crime against the nor- 
mal conjoint and against the children who may result from such 
an unhappy union. By severely punishing homosexual inter- 
course, the penal laws of many countries provoke the lowest 
form of blackmail, as Krafft-Ebing, Moll, Hirschfcld and others 
have proved by numerous examples, and as I have myself con- 
firmed among many of my patients. 

It is quite another thing with abnormal or perverse forms of 
the sexual appetite, which can only be satisfied against the will 
of their object, or by injuring it more or less severely. Here 
it is the duty of the law to organize energetic measures of pro- 
tection ; not with a view to punish the pervert, who is a diseased 
person, but to protect his victims in time. 

We wiU first deal Avith sadism; secondly with the violation 
of children. Here a very delicate question arises. In the case 
of such terrible sexual appetites we should not wait for victims 
before taking action. On the other hand, we cannot punish a 
man, nor even take administrative measures against him, simply 
from the fact that he possesses a dangerous appetite, especially 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 405 

if he is in other respects well-behaved and conscientious, and 
strives with all his might against his perversion. I have treated 
a patient who suffered from a terrible pathological appetite of 
this kind. He was a highly moral man who never harmed any 
one, but was in a state of despair over his affliction, which he 
resisted with all his power, seeking relief in masturbation when 
his passion became too violent. 

In such cases, the moral sentiments of an individual offer 
sufficient social protection, and it is neither the right nor the 
duty of the physician to denounce him. But he should advise 
the patient to retire to an asylum to avoid committing a crime, 
if he feels that he cannot restrain his passions. It is very rare 
for such cases to come to the knowledge of the public, for these 
patients prefer to suffer in silence or to commit suicide; but they 
are none the less instructive and characteristic. 

At other times dangerous perversions are discovered by chance, 
the pervert, instead of resisting his passion, seeking opportuni- 
ties to satisfy it without discovery. In such cases strong meas- 
ures should be enforced. Unfortunately, sadists are very well 
aware of the dangers they run, and know better than any other 
criminals how to commit their crimes \vithout being discovered. 
As soon as the perpetrator of a sadic crime is discovered, or 
simply an attempt at sadism, he should be arrested and placed 
where he can do no harm. The question of castration arises 
here: but we do not know yet how far this protects the sadist 
and his victim against recurrence. If this operation proves 
efficacious it should never be neglected. 

The exhibitionists present gi'eat difficulty. They are not dan- 
gerous, since they touch nobody. Their "victims," if they can 
be called so, are girls or women before whom they expose their 
genital organs and masturbate. No doubt modesty may be 
much offended by such acts, especially in young girls and chil- 
dren; disgust and fear may also harm them; but I think the 
law is too severe in these cases, for there is no question of an 
injury which is dangerous in itself. I have known little girls 
who have been frightened several times by exhibitionists, but I 
have never known them injured by the disgust which they 
experienced. The affair is too ridiculous and too ugly. It 



406 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

would be sufficient to send exhibitionists to an asylum for short 
periods, unless extreme weakness on their part necessitated 
prolonged detention. 

Simple necrophilia should be treated in the same way by 
penal law. But this perversion is more dangerous on account 
of its relationship with sadism. There are some sadists who are 
only necrophiliacs for fear of becoming assassins. Such indi- 
\'iduals are very dangerous and should be kept in confinement. 

The fetichists are, on the contraiy, generally very innocent. 
At the most they might be prosecuted for theft when they take 
away their fetiches. One of their worst misdemeanors is that 
of cutting off the hair of young girls. 

Concubinage. Prostitution. Proxenetism. White Slavery. — 
We have already seen that concubinage should never be punish- 
able in itself, although it is so in some countries. We shall not 
again return to the question whether prostitution should be the 
object of judicial and penal actions. Proxenetism and white 
slavery, on the contrary, cause grave injury to the rights of 
many individuals and should be made criminal offenses; for 
they are crimes against society and the indi\'idual, and com- 
mitted for lucre. It cannot be legal to do commerce with the 
body of one's neighbor: this is a crime which is closely related 
to slavery and similar abuses. (Vide Chapter X.) 

The law should punish all public solicitation, obscenity or 
sexual brutality, but the punishment should take a milder form. 
The sexual act and everything connected with it should be abso- 
lutely free, but a man has no right to provoke or annoy his 
neighbor by indecent sexual invitations if the latter does not 
wish to respond to them. 

It is, however, extremely difficult to fix the limits of what is 
licit, for prudeiy may also go too far and regard the most inno- 
cent allusions as provocations. It is absolutely necessaiy to 
leave a margin for normal sexual invitations. All that is re- 
quired is that they should not overstep the limits of recognized 
propriety, so long as there is not mutual agreement between the 
two parties. (Vide Flirtation, Chapter IV.) 

Lewdness. Pornography. — The question naturally presents 
itself of kno\^dng how far it is permitted to proceed publicly with 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 407 

a mutual agreement without causing offense or injury to other 
parties. On the whole, our customs are free enough in this 
respect, and a greater hberty in pubhc flirtation would be incon- 
venient. For instance, lewd exhibitions, coitus, etc., could not 
be allowed in public places. Children especially should be pro- 
tected against such excitations of the sexual appetite, and it is 
necessary to fix a legal distinction between what is offensive and 
what is not offensive to public propriety or modesty. 

Simple police regulations are sufficient for this purpose, but 
they are very necessary to protect women and children, and 
occasionally young men, against importunities or sexual obses- 
sions, against sexual solicitation, or even against assault or other 
offenses, such as incitement to masturbation, obscene words 
and gestures, etc. 

It is, no doubt, very difficult to define the limits. Our modern 
customs have left a large margin for pornography, which they 
treat like a spoiled child. The most dangerous form, however, 
is not that which flaunts itself in shop windows, by advertise- 
ments and placards, in public kiosks and dancing rooms; but 
the refined and aesthetic pornography which appears in the 
form of elegant engravings, erotic novels and dramas, under 
the cloak of art and even under that of morality. 

Unfortunately, the public is a very bad judge of these things. 
Certain books have openly and fearlessly described the sexual 
vices of our time — for example, Zola's novels and the dramas 
of Brieux— and these have been stigmatized as pornographic. 
As a matter of fact their authors in no way merit such a reproach. 
Such works in no way encourage immorality; on the contrary, 
they inspire disgust and a healthy and holy terror at the per- 
versity of our sexual customs. No doubt such works may have 
an erotic action on ignorant and low-minded persons. The 
Tyrolean peasants, in their moral indignation, have been known 
to destroy the marble statues of women erected in public places. 
Such acts serve no purpose, for prudery will never rid the world 
of eroticism; it will only increase it by leading to hypocrisy. 
We have something better to do than persecute and insult true 
art and men of talent or genius who expose our social perversions. 

Pornography is quite another thing. It is not contented with 



408 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

representing the aesthetic, licit, and normal side of natural 
eroticism. It does not depict sexual vice so as to emphasize 
its ugliness and its tragic consequences, but to glorify it. Whether 
it is represented as brazen nudity unadorned, or enveloped in a 
transparent veil which reveals everything it pretends to hide; 
whether it reels in bacchanalian orgies; whether it appears in 
brilliant fancy dress illuminated by electric lights, or in the 
discreet light of a fashionable boudoir; whether it is clearly re- 
vealed or equivocal, perverted in one way or depraved in another; 
in all its forms its aim is to tickle, to excite, to seduce, to allure, 
by arousing lewdness and inflaming its lowest passions. 

The pornographic dishes are often served up with a senti- 
mental and moral sauce which naturally does not tend to hide 
the flavor of the meat — for then all its charm would be gone — 
on the contrary it increases its spicy quality by means of con- 
trast, at the same time making the product more marketable; 
this hypocritical disguise giving it a certain varnish of propriety. 
The trick of clothing pornographic articles with the mantle of 
virtue may deceive the artless, and give the less artless excuse 
for buying them without putting themselves to any incon- 
venience. In such cases it is extremely difficult to act with- 
out injustice and without doing injury to art and science 
by vexatious measm'es. This requires much tact and rare 
perspicacity. 

Other Sexual Misdemeanors. — Many sexual assaults are com- 
mitted on the insane and feeble-minded, in the hope that they 
will not defend themselves and denounce the criminal. We have 
mentioned the case of inverts who become attendants in lunatic 
asylums in order to satisfy their appetites. Such crimes should 
be classed with those committed against minors. In the first 
place it is necessary to take into account the special dangers 
they present, and in the second place, the personality of the 
criminal, his capacity for repentance, improvement, and self- 
control. 

Artificial Abortion. — It is a difficult question to decide whether 
a woman should have the right to dispose of the embryo she 
carries in her womb, and the duties of society with regard to this 
question. It is certainly the duty of society to protect the child 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 409 

as soon as it is born. In this case the laws cannot be too severe 
in protecting the child from unnatural parents, or from the 
"baby farmers," whose business is to get rid of the mfants 
by starving them or exposing them to disease. 

It is the same with analogous abuses which we have men- 
tioned with regard to civil law. These crimes or misdemeanors 
very often result as much from the economic organization of our 
society, as from want of protection for infancy and gM-mothers, 
as well as from the shame with which the latter are branded by 
our hypocritical customs. 

The question becomes more difficult with regard to the em- 
bryo before birth. Should the law punish artificial abortion? 
Opinions on this question vary. I have already said that in 
cases of rape, and forced pregnancy in general, the right to 
artificial abortion should be conceded to the woman. On the 
other hand, I think it should be prohibited on principle when 
the fecundating coitus has been voluntary on both sides, and 
when there is no medical reason for such a measure. In princi- 
ple, the human embryo, when once conceived, should have the 
right to live. Birth is only an episode in its life. This generally 
takes place at the end of the ninth lunar month of pregnancy, 
but a child born at the seventh month is often viable. It is, 
therefore, arbitraiy not to recognize the right of the embryo to 
live. On the contrary, the right that a woman has to dispose 
of her body would seem to outweigh this, when conception has 
been imposed on her by stratagem or violence. In fact, the 
right of the embryo to life should depend on the wish of the 
bearers of each of the two germs by which it is formed, at 
the moment of conception. 

On the other hand, numerous exceptions to the above rule 
should be allowed, and doctors should not be too severe, for it • 
would be for them to decide in most cases whether artificial 
abortion was licit or not. Some pregnancies are a veritable 
misfortune for the parents and offspring, when the bodily and 
mental health of the mother or child, or both of them, is in 
danger. When a lunatic or an idiot, married or not, makes a 
woman pregnant, artificial abortion should be allowed; also m 
all cases when an insane or epileptic woman becomes pregnant. 



410 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

An analogous case is that where a drunkard renders his wife 
pregnant against her will, especially when he is intoxicated at 
the moment ; for the offspring runs a great risk of blastophthoria. 

It is needless to say that abortion should be permitted when- 
ever pregnancy seriously endangers the life or health of the 
mother, or when a grave disease in the mother condemns the 
child to become an invalid. On the other hand, such indications 
should not be acted on too lightly; a rational limit is here a 
matter of practice and common sense, combined with medical 
science. 

The Right to Live of Monsters, Idiots, or the Deformed. — 
The preceding remarks naturally lead us to the question whether 
children who are born invalids, deformed, or idiots, etc., should 
be necessarily condemned to live by the law, and whether 
special dispositions should not be made for such cases. 

The obligation to preserve, often by means of all the resources 
of medical science, miserable creatures, born as cretins or 
idiots; children with hydrocephalus or microcephalus, without 
eyes or ears, or with atrophied genital organs, etc., is an atrocity 
sanctioned by the law. Would it not be bettter to allow these 
miserable beings to be suppressed by means of a painless nar- 
cosis, with the consent of the parents and after an expert medical 
opinion, instead of condemning them by law to a life of misery? 
Science has proved that every congenital malformation of the 
brain is as incurable as that of any other organ. 

Here again our legislation is fettered by ignorance and reli- 
gious dogma. On one hand, immense armies are organized to 
kill the most healthy men by thousands and tens of thousands, 
and many more thousands are abandoned to famine, prostitution, 
alcoholism and exploitation; on the other hand, medicine is 
expected to employ its whole art and efforts in prolonging life 
as long as possible and thus martyrizing miserable human 
wretches, degenerate in body and mind or both, often when 
they cry out for death! 

Large asylums are built for idiots, and there is much joy when 
after many years of persevering effort some devoted person suc- 
ceeds in teaching these beings, whose mentality is far inferior to 
ibaf. of a monkey, to repeat a few words like a parrot, to scribble 



RIGHTS IN SEXUAL LIFE 411 

some words on paper, or to repeat a prayer mechanically with 
their eyes turned toward heaven! 

It is difficult to compare these two facts without feeling the 
bitter irony of what are euphemistically called our hereditary 
customs. In truth, the nurses and teachers who devote them- 
selves to the education of cretins and idiots would do better to 
occupy themselves in some manual work; or even leave the 
idiots to die, and themselves procreate healthy and capable 
children in their place! But this question does not properly 
belong to our subject. 

The Rights of the Embryo.— A distinction is generally made 
between artificial abortion practiced in the first months of preg- 
nancy and that induced in the later months. When the child 
is born viable, the term premature labor is used. When this is 
induced with the object of getting rid of the child the penalty 
is much more severe than for abortion, for it is regarded almost 
as infanticide. 

For this reason, and owing to the difficulty of the whole ques- 
tion, a mother should never be given the right to destroy the 
embryo or child in her womb, excepting in cases where preg- 
nancy has been forced upon her. Each case should be sub- 
mitted to a medical examination, and a doctor's certificate 
should be required. This is all the more indicated since our 
present knowledge makes it easy to prevent pregnancy by 
anticonceptional measures. Society is, therefore, entitled to 
demand that a mother who has voluntarily conceived a child 
has no right to interrupt its development, i.e., to kill it. If, as 
we hope, we shall eventually obtain more extended rights for 
women and greater sexual liberty in general, even in marriage, 
the reasons justifying artificial abortion, apart from medical 
or hygienic measures, will become more and more rare. 

The stigma of shame which is branded on illegitimate mater- 
nity unfortunately justifies many cases of abortion and even 
infanticide. Things ought to change in this respect, and in 
the future no pregnancy ought to be a source of shame for 
any healthy woman whatever, nor furnish the least motive for 
dissimulation. 

If the objection is raised that I am inconsistent; that every 



412 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

man, and consequently every woman, should have the power 
to dispose of then- own body on every occasion, and that penal 
law should therefore take no cognizance of artificial abortion, I 
reply that this does not apply to the case in point; for it is here 
a question, not of one body, but of two or more (in the case of ! 
twins) . From the moment of conception the embryo acquires a 
social right which merits all the more protection, the more its 
possessor is incapable of looking after it. 

Adultery. — Adultery, which even at the present day is often 
considered as a crime or misdemeanor, should be simply regarded 
as a reason for divorce. We have already treated the question 
with regard to civil law, and have shown the futility of trying 
to obtain fidelity by law. In my opinion, the misdemeanor of 
adultery should be entirely abolished from penal law. When 
it is complicated by fraud or other crimes, it is the latter only 
which are concerned. 

Human Selection. — The indirect danger to which children of 
bad heredity are exposed constitutes a grave social evil. At 
present, penal law is absolutely impotent in this matter. W^e 
have seen what civil law might perhaps effect, and what is 
already done in some countries. In another chapter we shall 
discuss much more appropriate measures for improvement in 
this domain. 

We have already mentioned castration and certain cases in 
which it might be practiced. These cases will always be very 
limited, and it is on the basis of social morality and hygiene of 
the race that the question of conception should be regulated in 
a rational and voluntary manner. We shall obtain much more 
in this way than by legal measures, which are always lame because 
they interfere with individual liberty. We must never forget that 
the law is only a necessaiy evil, and often a superfluous one. 

In conclusion, I may remark that penal law should be com- 
bined, like civil law, with administrative measm'es, to protect 
both the individual and society in sexual matters, at the same 
time watching over the interests of future generations. But it 
should only do this as far as the weakness and eroticism of men 
hinder a similar or better result from being obtained by moral 
education, combined with rational intellectual instruction. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XIII 

A MEDICO-LEGAL CASE 

The following case occurred in 1904 in the Canton of St. Gall, 
in Switzerland, and confirms my opinion : 

Frieda Keller, born in 1879, was the daughter of honest pa- 
rents. Her mother was mild-mannered and sensible, her father 
loyal, but harsh and sometimes violent. Frieda was the fifth of 
elfven brothers and sisters. She was a model scholar. At the 
age of four years she had meningitis which left her with frequent 
headaches. In 1896-97 she learnt dressmaking and helped at 
home in the household work. When she was free, she did em- 
broidery to help her family. Afterwards she obtained a situa- 
tion in a dressmaker's shop at St. Gall, where she got sixty 
francs a month. 

To increase her income she worked on Sundays as a waitress 
at the Cafe de la Poste. The proprietor, a married man, began 
to persecute her with his affections, which she had great diffi- 
culty in avoiding. She then entered another shop where she 
got eighty francs a month. One day, in 1898, when she was 
then nineteen, the proprietor of the cafe succeeded in seducing 
her, and on May 27, 1899, she gave bkth to a boy at the Mater- 
nity of St. Gall. She had confessed her misfortune to her pa- 
rents, and her mother had pity on her. Her mother had also 
been seduced and rendered pregnant at the age of fifteen; 
abandoned by her seducer she committed infanticide, and was 
sentenced to six years' imprisonment; as she had always been 
well-behaved, the tribunal had recognized that she acted 
"less by moral depravity than by false sentiment of honor." 
Frieda, who was fond of her mother, knew nothing of this history. 
The father was very hard toward his daughter and refused her 
all help and pity. Twelve days after her confinement she took 
her child to the Foundling Hospital at St. Gall. 

413 



414 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

Her seducer then promised to maintain the child, but never 
paid more than eighty francs. After a time he left the town 
and was seen no more. The circumstances under which Frieda 
became pregnant were not fully inquired into and her seducer 
was ignored. It was not absolutely a case of rape, but of taking 
a poor, weak and timid girl by surprise. 

Frieda Keller felt nothing but disgust for her seducer. Later 
on the latter would no doubt deny the fact of his paternity; 
but he had tacitly admitted this by the payment of eighty 
francs. 

Frieda had to pay five francs a week to the FQundling Hospital 
and also thirty-four francs to her married sister. In 1901 her 
father died, and in 1903 her mother. Frieda inherited 2,471 
francs from her father, but this sum was tied up in her brother's 
business and he never sent her the interest. It is characteristic 
of her mentality that she never attempted to exact it. 

Then began for this unfortunate young girl a life of struggle 
and despair. She was possessed of two ideas. On the one 
hand she could no longer maintain her child, and on the other 
hand would not admit anything from shame. They would not 
keep the child in the hospital after Easter, 1904, when it would 
reach the maximum age of five years. What was she to do? 

Frieda Keller was then evidently in a pathological state of 
mind, which was upheld by her defender, Doctor Janggen. She 
wished to keep her secret and provide for the maintenance of 
the child; but she took no steps in this direction. She did not 
seek for cheap lodgings, not for a rise of salary, nor even for the 
money illegally detained by her brother for his own profit. She 
never spoke to her married sister, nor to any one, of her des- 
perate position. The father of her child had disappeared and 
she never gave information against him for fear of divulging 
her secret. Moreover, the law at St. Gall only admitted the 
charge of paternity against unmarried men! She found no 
practical way of disposing of her child. After Easter, 1904, when 
the child was discharged from the hospital, she was haunted by 
a single idea — to get rid of the child. She struggled for a long 
time against this obsession, but in vain, and it finally became 
a resolution. 



A MEDICO-LEGAL CASE 415 

Although she was fond of her sister's children, she did not love 
her own. She rarely visited her child and appeared to take no 
notice of it. This woman who was well-disposed toward every 
other creature, who was of exemplary conduct and would not 
hurt a fly, never even spoke of her own child. On April 9th she 
wi-ote to the hospital that she would come and fetch the child. 

A few days before this she took a long walk in the woods; the 
next day she wept at home, while looking for some string. 
Alone with her despair, she had definitely made her terrible 
resolution. She said afterwards, at the assizes: 

"I could not free myself from the feeling that I must get rid 
of the child." 

She then went to the hospital, after having bought new 
clothes for the child, and told the authorities that an aunt of 
hers at Munich would take care of the child. She then took the 
child to the woods. Having found a lonely spot she sat down 
for a long time while the child played in the wood. For some 
time she had not the courage to do the deed, but at last an irre- 
sistible force, as she said, urged her to do it. With her hands 
and shoes she dug a grave, then strangled the child with string, 
with such force that it was difficult to untie the knot on the 
dead body afterwards. She knelt for some time by the child 
till it ceased to give any signs of life, then buried it, and returned 
home restraining her tears with difficulty. 

On the 1st of June she wrote to the hospital that the child 
had arrived at Munich. On the 7th of June the body was 
exposed by rain and was discovered by some Italians. On the 
14th of June she was arrested. During the trial she declared 
that her action had been the result of her inability to maintain 
the child, and the necessity of keeping her secret. This secret 
was the shame and dishonor of involuntary maternity and 
illegitimate birth. 

All the witnesses spoke in favor of Frieda Keller and gave 
evidence that she was well-mannered, intelligent, hard-working, 
economical, of exemplary conduct and loving her sister's chil- 
dren. She did not deny the premeditation of her crime, and in 
no way sought to diminish her responsibility. 

According to the law of St. Gall, such cases are punishable 



416 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

with death; but Frieda Keller's sentence was commuted to 
penal servitude for life. 

Such are the facts of this case taken from the official report, 
and from an extract published by M. de Morsier in the Signal de 
Genkve. 

We are compelled to exclaim with M. de Morsier that a legis- 
lation which, in such a case, condemns to death one who can 
justly be called a victim, while leaving unpunished the real cul- 
prit, is calculated to destroy all belief in justice in a democracy 
which calls itself Christian. It is a justice of barbarians, a dis- 
grace to the twentieth century. The tribunal and the juries 
have enforced to the letter an article in the Code, and this is 
called justice! We may well say: Fiat justitia, pereat mundus. 

Frieda Keller was no doubt in an abnormal condition of mind; 
she probably suffered from the influence of auto-suggestion 
which became an obsession. Such cases are not uncommon. 
This is clearly shown by the absurdity of her manner of acting, 
which was both useless and pernicious, while she might easily 
have got out of her difficulty in other ways. If our judges and 
juries had a little more knowledge of human psychology and a 
little less of the Code in their heads, they would have had some 
doubts on the mental integrity of the accused, and would have 
ordered an expert examination by a mental specialist. But, 
apart from this point, I put the question — can we expect from a 
woman, maternal sentiments for a child resulting from sexual 
surprise bordering on rape? 

In the preceding chapter I have demanded the right of arti- 
ficial abortion to women rendered pregnant by rape or against 
their will, and I think the case of Frieda Keller supports my con- 
tention. I do not intend to justify the assassination of a child 
already five years of age; but I wish to point out that the ab- 
sence of maternal love is quite natural in such a case. It is 
precisely the instinctive aversion of Frieda Keller for her child, 
otherwise inexplicable, which shows most clearly that it was a 
case of imposed maternity, or sexual satisfaction on the part of 
the father alone. 

The tragic case of this unfortunate woman well illustrates 
the brutality and hypocrisy of our customs regarding the sexual 



A MEDICO-LEGAL CASE 417 

question, and shows what terror, shame, torment and despair 
may be caused by the point of view of the so-called rules of 
morality. In the presence of these facts I do not think I can 
be accused of exaggeration : it is only parchment-hearted jurists 
and government officials who can remain indifferent in such 
cases. 

Penal servitude for life for the poor victim of such cruelty is 
a kind of "mercy" which rather resembles bitter irony. The 
law of St. Gall can do only one thing to repair the evil; that is 
to change its laws and liberate the victim as soon as possible. 

In ordinary infanticide the true assassin is not usually the 
mother who kills her child, but rather the father who abandons 
the woman he has made pregnant, and disowns the result of his 
temporary passion. In the case of Frieda Keller, maternal 
heredity, the results of meningitis, stupidity, irreflection, want, 
shame, fear, a pathological obsession, and finally the unworthy 
conduct of the father, all combined in making this unfortunate 
girl a victim rather than a criminal. Her child was not only a 
source of great anxiety but also an object of instinctive repulsion. 

How is it that such a brave and industrious woman can feel 
repulsion toward her own child? If the judges had asked 
themselves this question and had replied to it without prejudice, 
forgetting for the moment their Code and prejudices, they 
would not have had the courage to condemn the woman to 
death, nor even to condemn her at all; for their conscience 
would have clearly shown them the true culprits— masculine 
brutality, our hypocritical sexual customs, and the unjust laws 
inspiring terror in a feeble brain. 

When every pregnancy and every birth are looked upon by 
human society with honor and respect, when every mother is 
protected by law and assisted in the education of her chil- 
dren, then only will society have the right to judge severely of 
infanticide. 



CHAPTER XIV 

MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 

i 

General Remarks. — Theology teaches belief in God and a 
future life; law represents the application of codified laws and 
customs, old and new; medicine is said to be an art — the art 
of curing sick people. 

At the origin of each of these three branches of human activity 
we find an acquired idea. Man has been led to the religious 
idea and to the worship of one or more gods by his terror of cer- 
tain unknown and occult powers superior to his own, and by the 
idea that his faculty of knowledge, his power, and the duration 
of his life were limited. 

The origin of law is in moral conscience, a phylogenetic 
derivative of the sentiments of sympathy, i.e., sentiments of 
duty and justice, combined with the idea of the necessity for 
men to live in societies. 

As regards medicine, this owes its existence to the fear of 
disease, pain and death, which is modified by the acquired 
experience that certain substances may sometimes ease suffering. 

Theology, if separated from morality whose domain it has 
usurped, lives on mysticism, and endeavors to give it a natural 
and human appearance by adorning it with sonorous phrase- 
ology. Law, losing sight of its origin and object of existence, 
only concerns itself with comments on the text of laws, and in 
discussing the application of the articles of the Code. Medi- 
cine has concerned itself too much with the life of the patient, 
instead of the improvement of human life in general. 

In order to cure a physical malady, to reestablish abnormal 
or damaged functions as far as this is possible, the physician 
must be acquainted with the vital manifestations of the body 
in its normal state. For this reason the art of medicine depends 
on the accessory sciences, chiefly anatomy and physiology. 

418 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 410 

These accessory sciences have considerably developed in the 
evolution of medicine, and the art of medicine has become the 
chief motive power which urges men to research and discovery 
in the biological sciences, such as histology, embryology, com- 
parative anatomy and physiology, anatomy and physiology of 
the brain, bacteriology, etc. Pure science now occupies such a 
position in medical studies that the "heahng art" often re- 
mains in the background; although it must later on take the 
chief part, and is regarded by the pubhc as of the greatest 
importance. 

The value of the art of medicine is subject to great variations. 
It is only of real value when, free from all charlatanism, it rests 
on a sufficiently scientific basis; for the art of an ignoramus 
falls into error and employs inappropriate methods; on the 
other hand, the art of a charlatan has for its object the purse 
of the patient. It is common to meet with physicians who have 
a good practical experience of art without possessing scientific 
knowledge, others who have both practical experience and 
science but are charlatans, others again who are very scientific 
but incapable in practice. The ideal is a combination of art, 
science and disinterested honesty; but it is not very uncommon 
to meet with a combination of ignorance, incapacity and char- 
latanism. Lastly, too many doctors, otherwise capable and 
intelligent, are too much influenced by authority, text-books 
and prejudices, instead of observing and judging each case for 
themselves in the true scientific spirit. Many dogmas of medi- 
cal education rest on hypotheses, theories or statements which 
have no solid foundation, and do not represent the fruits of a 
true personal experience of human life. Many doctors only see 
through other people's glasses, without reflecting for them- 
selves; the worst of these are those with " systems," homoeo- 
paths, the disciples of natural medicine, etc. It is especially in 
the sexual question that these human weaknesses of medical 
practitioners often lead to the most pitiable results. 

We must first of all take to heart the fundamental principle 
of hygiene, which is at the same time that of all honest and sound 
medicine — prevention is better than cure. 

The modern opinions of medical men on the sexual question 



420 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

are still unfortunately greatly obscured by prejudice, authority, 
and the indu'ect influence of the doctrines of religious morality. | 
The same applies to the question of alcohol. However, it is to | 
medicine and its accessory sciences that we owe the knowledge 
which now renders it possible to judge of the sexual relations of 
man from the true and healthy point of view of social and 
moral science. 

We cannot describe here all the relations of medicine to sexual 
life. Chapters I, II, III, IV and VIII are entirely based on its 
results and on those of natural science. What we have still to 
consider relates especially to sexual hygiene, for we have already 
treated of pathology in Chapter VIII. I shallreserve the gen- 
eral and social part of hygiene for the last chapter of the book, 
and shall confine myself here to certain special points, and the 
criticism of current, but erroneous, medical opinions on the 
sexual question. 

Prostitution. Sexual Hygiene. Sexual Connection Apart from 
Marriage. — All regulation and medical supervision of prosti- 
tution should be rejected, not only from the moral point of 
view, but also from that of hygiene, as a deplorable error, inca- 
pable even of fulfilling its avowed object — protection against 
venereal disease. I 

. Faith in the dogmas and authority of an existing institution 
has led medical men to take a false view of the question. They 
demand from the adversaries of regulation proof of a diminution 
in venereal disease when regulation was not in force. This is 
both unjust and absurd. It is for the supporters of regulation 
to prove that State regulation of prostitution has led to any 
appreciable improvement of the social evil. Then only can it 
be asked if the maintenance of such vexatious measures is still 
justifiable. But medicine has not furnished the proof de- 
manded from it; on the contrary, its attempts in this direction 
have entirely failed. After aU, the system is kept up, not be- 
cause it diminishes venereal infection, but because it gives 
satisfaction to the sexual appetite of men and their desire for 
change. Society, however, has no right to organize such a 
monstrosity as regulated prostitution and licensed proxenetism, 
for the special pleasure of debauchees. 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 421 

In virtue of the false dogma of regulation, many doctors, even 
at the present day, recommend young men to visit brothels, 
for alleged hygienic reasons. This deplorable custom perverts 
youth and gives it false ideas. It is a remedy much worse and 
much more dangerous than the evil it is supposed to cure, 
worse than masturbation, much worse than nocturnal emissions. 
Sexual anomalies and perversions are not cured in brothels; on 
the contrary they develop there. 

Moreover, it is absurd to exaggerate the effects of onanism 
and sexual excesses in themselves, and thus increase the anxiety 
of a number of unfortunates. In Chapter IV, we have already 
spoken of great variations which the sexual appetite presents 
without ceasing to be normal, and we have mentioned the rule 
given by Luther. In my opinion the advice given by the doctor 
should be as follows : 

As long as he does not wish to marry, a young man should 
remove as far as possible all sexual ideas from his thoughts. 
He should be contented with nocturnal emissions, which are 
produced spontaneously, and should avoid all the manipulations 
of onanism. A young girl should do the same all the more 
easily, because her sexual appetite is normally weaker, and is 
not accompanied by glandular secretions which more or less 
demand ejaculation. 

Persons unable to resist their sexual appetite should be 
extremely prudent in their extra-nuptial intercourse. More- 
over, there is no need for this to assume the character of prosti- 
tution. 

Medical Advice. — It is the doctor's duty to give friendly ad- 
vice to every one who consults him on sexual questions, without 
posing as a judge or a moralist. He should never frighten or 
reprimand the poor hjq^ochondriac who blames himself for 
masturbation, nor sexual perverts of any kind, unless, of course, 
they are absolutely dangerous, such as sadists. He should, on 
the contrary, calm their fears and give them encouragement; and 
in this way he may do much good. 

Hypnotic suggestion gives him a means of directly combating 
many cases of sexual excitation, or at least of attenuating 
them, by directing the cerebral activity of the patient to other 



422 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

subjects. Each case should be judged by itself and attention 
should be paid to the different points we have studied in this 
book. Even between husband and wife, and especially as a 
consequence of monogamy, certain unfortunate or delicate cir- 
cumstances may raise difficulties; for example, the periods 
during which conception should be avoided, a certain time after 
accouchement and during certain morbid conditions. 

In this case unskillful medical advice may have unfortunate 
results. When a doctor forbids a husband to have sexual inter- 
course with his wife he exposes him to two dangers. If the hus- 
band remains continent and sleeps in a separa.te room for too 
long a time, conjugal love may become so cooled that a per- 
manent barrier is established between man and wife; if, on the 
other hand, he abandons himself to prostitution, he may con- 
tract venereal disease and infect his wife. Again, the husband 
may become enamored of another woman and wreck the happi- 
ness of his family. The doctor who prohibits conjugal coitus 
thus takes a great responsibility. For this and other reasons 
we have now an important question to consider. 

Opinions differ considerably as to the effects of sexual conti- 
nence. All extreme assertions are erroneous. It is quite certain 
that the harmful effects of continence have been greatly exag- 
gerated. Normal persons of both sexes may remain continent, 
although not without some trouble and discomfort. In a gen- 
eral way, we may accept the statement that many morbid 
conditions are known to result from sexual excess, but few 
from continence. This, however, goes a little too far, for certain 
psychopaths and sexual hypersesthetics often lapse into a state 
of mental and nervous excitement from forced continence, so 
that their neurosis becomes accentuated and may even end in 
insanity. I have seen this occur both in men and women, but 
such cases are very rare. 

Continence is not an easy matter for erotic individuals, and 
requires a heroic internal struggle, especially in men. The 
Canadian reformer, Chiniqui, whom we have previously quoted, 
relates the history of a monk who tore off his testicles in despair 
at being unable to conquer his violent sexual appetite. 

The fine preachers of morality, endowed with a cold tempera- 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 423 

ment, or simply senile, who hold forth on the "immorality" of 
the consequences of the sexual appetite, would do well to take 
such facts to heart. 

A rich and educated young girl, a nymphomaniac but still a 
virgin, declared to me that if she did not soon find a husband she 
would prostitute herself, for she could contain herself no long(>r. 

It is a curious fact that some individuals who are absolutely 
cold by nature and have no desire for sexual intercourse, some- 
times go to brothels or get married simply "to do like others," 
or so as "not to be laughed at!" I have known a well-to-do 
and well-educated young man driven to visit a brothel by the 
ridicule of his companions; he contracted syphilis and died 
some years later of general paralysis, one of the results of this 
disease. 

If, at the origin of man, as in the animal kingdom from which 
he is descended, coitus and conception were nearly inseparable, 
things have changed greatly since then. The severe selection 
of the struggle for existence has ceased to eliminate the unfit, 
and consequently it is necessary to employ some other means 
than selection to prevent as far as possible the conception of 
feeble beings and invalids. From this fact results the social 
duty of clearly separating conception from the satisfaction of 
the sexual appetite, and avoiding conception when useful or 
necessary, without renouncing sexual intercourse. The welfare 
of our women and our posterity demands this consequence. 

Methods of Regulating or Preventing Conception. — In Chapters 
I and II we have studied the mechanism of copulation and repro- 
duction. A little common sense is sufficient to show that it is 
not difficult to perform coitus without this resulting in concep- 
tion. It is sufficient simply to prevent the semen from pene- 
trating the womb (Chapter V, Figure 18). This may be effected 
in various ways, by the aid of preventive measures employed 
either by the male or the female during coitus. 

(1). Preventive measures employed by the woman. Directly 
after coitus the woman may syringe the vagina with water 
acidulated with vinegar. This should always be done when 
another measure employed by the man has failed in its object, 
owing to some accident or want of skill. But vaginal syringing 



424 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

is uncertain in its effect, for the microscopic spermatozoa may 
enter the womb without the injected fluid reaching them. 

It has been stated that coitus a few days before menstruation 
is never followed by conception. This is incorrect; conceptions 
are, it is true, more rare under such circumstances, but by no 
means impossible. Any one who depends on such an uncertain 
measure runs the risk of being disabused. 

Another method consists in the use of sponges, soaked in some 
disinfectant, which the woman places deeply in the vagina 
before coitus. These are provided with a silk thread by which 
they can be removed more easily. This method is also very 
uncertain, for the semen may enter the womb by the side of the 
sponge. In any case they should be large and shaped in the 
form of a hollow hemisphere. 

Occlusive pessaries are hardly much better. They consist of 
rings closed by an india-rubber membrane which are introduced 
into the vagina as far as the neck of the womb, so as to form a 
barrier. If they are not properly introduced, or if they become 
displaced dming coitus, their effect is illusory. Moreover, they 
do not remove the semen from the vagina. 

In fact, all the measures employed by the woman are uncer- 
tain, for the simple reason that at the bottom of a narrow cavity 
such as the vagina, she is working in the dark, and also from the 
nature of the measures themselves. A glance at Figure 18 is 
sufficient to make this clear. 

(2) . Measures employed by the man. A very common practice 
is that called interrupted coitus; the man withdrawing his penis 
at the moment of ejaculation. This practice is not only very 
disagreeable, but is also uncertain, as some semen may find its 
way into the vagina. 

The most simple and appropriate measure is that of covering 
the penis with an impermeable membrane shaped like the finger 
of a glove. The semen then remains in this membranous sac, 
if the precaution is taken to apply an india-rubber ring over it 
at the root of the penis. This ring keeps the membrane in con- 
tact with the penis and prevents it shifting during coitus. These 
preventive membranes are called "French letters" in England; 
in France "capotes anglaises." 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 425 

These appliances are often made of thin india-rubber, with a 
thicker ring at the base; but these are disagreeable as they do 
not resemble mucous membrane, and deaden sensation in the 
glans penis, consequently interfering with ejaculation. In the 
second place they are uncertain, as they arc liable to become 
torn. For this reason preventives made of animal membranes 
are to be preferred, especially those made from the vermiform 
appendix of certain animals. [In commerce these articles arc 
called fish-bladders, on account of their resemblance.] 

When these articles are sufficiently strong they are excellent; 
but the following precautions should be observed: 

Fu-st of all, an india-rubber ring must be used, adapted to the 
size of the erect penis, and placed at the root of the penis over 
the membrane. If the glans penis is anointed with a little 
vaseline and the membrane soaked in water, the presence of 
the latter is hardly noticed, and sensation is not impaired. 

The penis should be withdrawn while it is still erect, and the 
membrane and ring held by the finger during withdrawal. The 
letter is washed and dried, then blown up with a little air and 
closed at its base. It is left full of air till the morning, when it 
is blown up more completely to prevent stiffening; it is then 
ready for use again. By the insufflation of air its impermeability 
is assured. 

In this way the same letter may be used a great many times. 
These details are very important, for they avoid using a different 
letter for each coitus, a matter of some importance to people 
who are not well off — the very people, in fact, who have most 
need for them. When a letter is no longer unpermeable to air 
it should be discarded. 

It is only by careful attention to these details that concep- 
tion can be avoided with certainty. If there is any doubt, or 
if the letter is torn, a vaginal injection of warm water acidulated 
with vinegar should be made immediately. Figure 18 shows 
the position of the preventive membrane during coitus, between 
the neck of the womb and the opening of the male urethra from 
which the semen is ejaculated. 

A cheaper method is to purchase some vermiform appendices 
from a butcher; clean them and disinfect with a solution of 



426 THE SEXUAL QUESTI&i<< 

corrosive sublimate (1 in 1,000) and use them in the same way. 
Although they are thicker, theh mucous membrane having 
almost the same consistence as that of the vagina, they cause 
no diminution in sensation during coitus. They may be kept 
in a vessel filled with glycerin and washed in water before 
and after use, so that insufflation of air is unnecessary. The 
same fresh appendix may be used several times, but care must 
be taken to see that they are not torn, as they are more friable 
than the commercial article. 

By these measures coitus takes place in an absolutely normal 
manner, both for the man and woman, excepting that concep- 
tion does not occur. 

When a letter is too thin, which is unfortunately often the 
case, a second one may be applied outside the first. The india- 
rubber ring must never be omitted. With care and prudence 
conception can thus be avoided almost with certainty. If the 
wife fears negligence on the part of her husband, she can always 
employ one of the other measures we have indicated, such as the 
sponge or occlusive pessary, for greater safety. These extra 
precautions are indicated in cases where conception would have 
grave consequences. 

It is important that preventive measures should be cheap and 
simple but safe, for they greatly facilitate sexual intercourse in 
normal marriage, and in a general way all sexual intercourse; 
they enable a husband to save his wife from premature preg- 
nancies, or those occurring at unfavorable times, without inter- 
fering with natural and legitimate connection. In this way it 
is possible to avoid all conception which might be produced 
under bad conditions, and to regulate the procreation of chil- 
dren in a natural way. 

Anticonceptional measures also allow unfortunate patho- 
logical individuals, whose social and moral duty is to avoid 
procreation, to satisfy their sexual desire without the fear of 
bringing into the world miserable abortions, idiots or invalids. 
They render marriage possible for young people, when the 
income is not sufficient to support a family. 

By then- aid it is possible to fix in advance the date of birth 
of the child who is to be born, however fecund the woman may 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 427 

be. In warm climates, for instance, it could be arranged for 
the wife to have children in the autumn and not at the beginning 
of summer, a dangerous season for the newly born. In short 
the French letter, properly employed, satisfies our desideratuni 
which is the voluntary separation of procreation and sexual 
satisfaction. 

If the objection is raised that egoists of both sexes profit by 
these measures to avoid procreation of children, I repeat once 
more, that this is not to be regretted. Men who possess social 
sentiments and wish to have children, will procreate all the 
more healthy members of society. What we have most to 
fear for the future of humanity is the want of social sense, or 
altruism. 

Anticonceptional methods also allow men to avoid prostitu- 
tion. If we add to this the reforms v;hich we have claimed in 
Chapter XIII with regard to civil law, wo may gradually attain 
a progressive purification of our sexual life. Another advantage 
of French letters is that they protect to a great extent against 
venereal disease, if care be taken to avoid infection by tlie 
mouth. 

The most certain means of definitely preventing conception 
is by dislocation of the tubes. This easy operation is indicated 
whenever a woman ought to be prohibited from having cliildren, 
for example, in cases of contracted pelvis, insanity, ei)ilepsy, 
tuberculosis, etc. We have already seen that castration, espe- 
cially in women, influences the general health, and is, therefore, 
only indicated in very grave cases, such as sadism, etc. 

It seems almost incredible that in some countries medical 
men who are not ashamed to throw young men into the arms 
of prostitution, blush when mention is made of anticonceptional 
methods. This false modesty, created by custom and prejudice, 
waxes indignant at innocent things while it encourages the 
greatest infamies. 

Hygiene of Marriage. — When marriage is consummated on the 
basis of free reciprocal consent, when both parties know exactly 
to what they have pledged themselves, when the corrupting 
influence of money is eliminated, when all unnatural regulation 
is suppressed, when the superfluous ]:)lending of religion and 



428 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

legislation have been abolished from the bonds of matrimony, 
when woman has finally obtained equal rights with man — 
then love and mutual respect, combined with the sexual appe- 
tite, will constitute the intimate and personal ties of marriage. 
At the same time, instinctive sentiments and legal duties to- 
ward the offspring will furnish it with a complementary and 
lasting cement. Among men whose nature is true, the in- 
structive sentiment of altruism or conscience urges them to 
the performance of social duties without the necessity of any 
legal obligation. 

A few medical points now require our attention. The hus- 
band should be older than the wife, on the average from six to 
twelve years. This point is very important if a monogamous 
union is to be lasting. Woman matures earlier than man, both 
mentally and sexually; her personality becomes more rapidly 
adult than his; she ages more quickly and loses her faculty of 
procreation sooner than man. Certain savage races solve the 
problem by marrying as boys and girls, casting off their wives 
when they grow old, to marry younger ones. Among civilized 
races, man manages his affairs by making use of prostitution. 
From his youth he succumbs to physical and moral corruption, 
often complicated with venereal infection, and then often 
regards marriage as a kind of hospital for incurables, where the 
wife plays the parts of housekeeper and nurse combined! 

It is not easy to steer clear of these rocks, nor to formulate a 
rule for lasting monogamy. The old style of polygamy is 
brutal, and prostitution is still more disgusting. The senti- 
ments of the egoist are summed up in the maxim, "After me 
the deluge!" To this the preacher of morals replies that ''man 
should curb his passions." But this eternal dialogue does not 
help us in the least. 

I propose a middle course, as follows: The young man who 
possesses sufficient strength to overcome his sexual appetite, 
or whose sexual appetite is so moderate that he can remain 
continent till the age of about twenty-five years, so as to enable 
him to avoid prostitution, promiscuous sexual intercourse or 
masturbation — this young man, I maintain, has the best chance 
of gaining the first prize in life. If he is free from prejudice 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 429 

and is not afraid of using anticonceptional measures for a cer- 
tain time, he may then marry a young girl, to whom he may 
become permanently attached, if their two characters suit each 
other. 

A young girl may very well marry at seventeen or eighteen, 
or at any rate between eighteen and nineteen. She is then 
sexually mature and her mentahty is sufficiently developed, so 
that the difference in age we have required may be obtained. 
Young people thus united may continue their studies before 
procreating children, and their marriage will stimulate them to 
work. 

When the intoxication of the honeymoon is over, the con- 
tinuance of conjugal happiness depends on an intimate adapta- 
tion of the two conjoints in sentiments, intelhgence and sexual 
appetite; an adaptation which purifies love on both sides. 
Work in common, a common ideal, mutual respect full of affec- 
tion but free from flattery, and a reciprocal education which 
does not degenerate into pedantry nor tyranny, are the principal 
conditions for conjugal happiness. 

It is absolutely necessary to avoid everything which causes 
separation or exclusion, even in appearance. At the risk of 
appearing ridiculous in the eyes of certain superior persons, I 
repeat that separation of beds and bedrooms is a dangerous 
experiment to make in marriage, and that it may easUy lead to 
estrangement, even when based on the highest motives. 

It is the same, in a still higher degree, with sexual continence 
in marriage, even when it does not last for years, excepting in 
cases of grave disease oi senile impotence. 

It is often stated that a woman should avoid coitus for long 
periods, because among certain savage races the husband does 
not cohabit with her dming pregnancy and the two years of 
nursing which follow it; the woman being considered by religion 
as "impure" during this period. But this proves nothing, for 
this custom only concerns polygamists, who make up for it 
with other women. If our monogamous marriage is to be 
natural, and not satisfied with words and illusions, it is necessary 
for sexual intercourse to be intimate and constant, and it should 
only be interrupted for short intervals, corresponding to the 



430 THE SEXUAL QUESTION ■ 

natural wants of the two conjoints, adapted to each other by 
mutual concessions. 

Apart from this, menstruation and accouchement constitute 
the only exceptions based on physiology. According to Griiber 
{Hygiene des Geschlechtslehens) accouchement requires an inter- 
ruption of at least four weeks; I should say at least six weeks. 
Every husband, with the possible exception of the most horrible 
satyrs, can submit to this without much discomfort. Preg- 
nancy, on the contrary, does not require continence, provided 
the husband takes account of his wife's condition and treats 
her with care. 

During the last months of pregnancy all violent movements 
and pressure on the abdomen should be avoided during coitus, 
so as not to injure the embryo. This may be effected by coitus 
in the lateral position. 

Professor Pinard of Paris advises the prohibition of coitus 
during the latter part of pregnancy, because it may lead to pre- 
mature bu'th. As regards accouchement at the seventh, eighth 
or even at the beginning of the ninth month, this might, it is 
true, be proved by figures, but at this time the embryo is suffi- 
ciently protected, and with the precautions indicated above, I 
consider the danger as nil. As regards the end of the ninth 
month, the margin of errors as to the movement of conception 
and the signs of bu'th at term hardly allow of statistics which 
exclude subjectivism, and the danger becomes less and less. 
In any case a conscientious husband would run no risks under 
these circumstances if he was aware of the danger. 

What is more important for the wife is that she should have 
sufficient rest between her pregnancies. A year at least should 
elapse between parturition and the next conception; this gives 
approximately two years between the confinements. This is 
easily managed by the aid of the preventive animal membranes 
we have mentioned. In this way the wife keeps in good health 
and can bear healthy children at pleasure. It is certainly better 
to procreate seven healthy children, than to procreate fourteen 
of which seven die, to say nothing of the mother who rapidly 
becomes exhausted by uninterrupted confinements. 

No rule can be given for the frequency of sexual connection 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 431 

in marriage; this is a matter for reciprocal arrangement. Luth- 
er's rule of two or three times a week may be considered a 
normal average for virile persons of good constitution. 

Women who are sexually cold and fond of children, but who 
have a horror of coitus, cannot, in my opinion, be regarded as 
types of the normal wife, nor can they expect their husbands to 
abstain from all coitus except that intended for procreation. 
On the other hand, the wife should certainly be made acquainted 
with the nature of sexual intercourse and its consequences 
before marriage. Further, before engaging in a life-long union, 
a man and woman ought to explain to each other their 
sexual feelings so as to avoid deception and incompatibility 
later on. 

Without having ever experienced a sexual orgasm, either by 
coitus or by mastm-bation, a normal young girl, when she is 
sufficiently instructed in sexual matters, may easily decide 
whether the idea of coitus with a man for whom she feels affec- 
tion is repugnant or attractive to her. In the case of young 
men it is still easier. 

A woman who had received a complete medical education 
and had remained a virgin, but who was well-informed on sexual 
life, gave me very precise information on this subject. For a 
long time the idea of coitus with men was repugnant to her, till 
she made the acquaintance of the one who gained her affections. 
Repugnance was then replaced by desire. This case also gives 
a good example of the monogamous sexual feeling of the normal 
woman. 

In Chapter XVII we shall discuss the manner in which youth 
should be initiated into the sexual question. Our present for- 
mality, combined with general ignorance of ghls on sexual 
matters, renders a mutual understanding prior to definite 
betrothal generally impossible. Moreover, there is a sort of 
hysterical and pathological love, the product of the imagination, 
which is associated with sentimental words and sighs as well as 
coquetry, but transformed into disgust or hatred by the first 
coitus. Although more common in women this false love is 
met with in hysterical men. Sometimes the illusion disappears 
while there is yet time to break off the betrothal. Marriage by 



432 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

trial and greater facility for divorce would be very useful in 
such cases. 

For a number of reasons, both parties should be medically 
examined before marriage. This precaution may reveal the 
presence of a narrow pelvis or vaginismus in the woman, or 
aspermia, venereal disease, etc., in the man. 

When a woman will only support coitus with a view to 
procreation, it is her duty to inform her jiance, who can then 
consider whether he can submit to such restriction. If the 
wife will not allow her husband a concubine, it only remains 
for him to renounce his marriage, or to procreate children 
extrar-nuptially. * I 

My opinion on this subject will no doubt appear very im- 
moral to many people, but it is natural and rational. It is 
needless to say that I do not intend that a man has the right 
to compel his wife to have intercom*se whenever he pleases. 
The question is a very delicate one; but, by the aid of goodwill 
a satisfactory solution of the problem can be obtained in most 
cases, in the manner indicated above. Love and mutual respect 
will always find a way out of the difficulty. It is necessary to 
avoid extreme asceticism and unnatural idealism on the one 
hand, and excessive sexual indulgence on the other hand. In 
the sexual question above all others it is the wisest course to 
strike a happy medium. 

An extremely important question is that of the procreation of 
children. We have just explained how this can be regulated at 
will; we have now to consider how children of the best quality 
can be procreated. 

The first condition is the good quality of the parents. Their 
heredity, or the intellectual and physical value of their ancestry 
is of paramount importance. We must take into consideration, 
not only the intelligence and physical health, but also good sen- 
timents, a conscientious character and energy of will. What is 
the use of procreating healthy and robust children if they are 
vain, egoistic, impulsive, crafty, wanting in will power, or perhaps 
criminal? Such individuals constitute a social plague. 

At the time of conception the parents should not be in a 
condition of acute or chronic alcoholism, nor affected with any 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 433 

disease; otherwise the progeny may be tainted by Uastophthoria 
(Chapter I). 

The age of the procreators should also be taken into account. 
Children born of parents advanced in years are generally 
feeble. 

The fatal error which causes the procreation of children to 
depend on pecuniary reasons and interests is a social misfor- 
tune. Healthy men and women ought never to avoid reproduc- 
tion, even when they are poor. Progeny of good quality grow 
up, so to speak, by themselves. Progeny with evil instincts, or 
decadent, have a pre-existing hereditary taint, or have been 
affected by blastophthoria in some other way. 

No doubt acquired diseases or accidents may make an invalid 
of a child or a man, but these are exceptions which prove the 
rule, for here again the descendant of healthy parents is more 
resistant than others, if he has not artificially altered his state 
of health and power of resistance by alcohol or venereal disease. 

Among savages, and at the present day among many peasants, 
children are rather an advantage than a burden, because these 
people have simple and healthy habits and few wants. It is 
our artificial and unhealthy desire for luxury, frivolity, comfort 
and enjoyment, our muscular weakness resulting from want of 
exercise, our exaggerated terror of diseases and microbes, in a 
word our effeminacy, which makes us so incapable of rearing 
large families simply and cheaply. No doubt it becomes more 
and more necessary to give children a good education, and this 
necessity complicates the question. But, in my opinion this 
education will in the future be conducted by the State. 

Hygiene of Pregnancy. — This subject is too special to be 
fully dealt with here. We may, however, mention that idle- 
ness and overwork are equally detrimental to the pregnant 
woman and her child. It is needless to say that every pregnant 
woman requires care and good food. Violent efforts, especially 
in the upright position, should be avoided (vide Bachimont : La 
Puericulture intra-uterine, 1898, Paris). But domestic work 
and moderate exercise of the body are beneficial. Precautions 
are especially necessary during the last months of pregnancy for 
the general health of the mother and chHd, but imprudence 



434 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

during the early months may cause abortion in many women. 
The progressive enei*vation of women in easy circumstances has 
no doubt rendered them less adapted to procreation. This 
failing should be corrected by progressive but prudent training. 

Medical Advice as to Marriage. — The permission or prohibition 
of marriage is a delicate question at the present day, but will be 
less so in the future, if our propositions are reahzed. If one of 
the two candidates for matrimony has been or is still insane, or 
seriously affected with tuberculosis, or with active syphilis or 
chronic gonorrhea, it is clearly our duty to prohibit marriage. 

If the situation is not so grave, and if it is only a question of 
hereditary taint, especially when there is a probabihty of the 
offspring being deformed in body or mind, we may content our- 
selves with prohibiting the procreation of children, while giving 
permission for marriage, provided anticonceptional measures 
are used. The importance of these measures is obvious in such 
cases. We should explain to the young people in question that 
the procreation of unhealthy or backward children is bad and 
even criminal, and warn them against such an unpardonable 
act of thoughtlessness. If they are very fond of children they 
can be recommended to adopt poor orphans. 

There is no need, however, to be too severe. Medical men are 
often pessimists, and have a tendency to see disease everywhere 
and to give a grave prognosis. The procreation of children 
should not be prohibited simply because there is insanity in 
some member of the family, but the probabilities of hereditary 
transmission should be calculated in the way we have explained 
in the first chapter of this book. 

Taking into consideration the bodily and mental health and 
the character of the two candidates for marriage, as well as that 
of their ancestry, the physician should consider what is likely 
to be the average quality of children from such a marriage. 
According as his calculation leads to a probability above or 
below the average of the population, from all the points of view 
of the social value of man, he will advise the parties concerned 
as to freedom or limitation in procreation, 

The average of humanity must not be placed too high, and 
the physician should always keep in mind the great mental 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 435 

mediocrity, weakness of will, the low moral level and physical 
defects of the bulk of the population. 

When persons who are intelligent and educated, but more or 
less psychopathic or hereditarily tainted, put questions of this 
kind to the doctor, because they are very conscientious and 
prudent, they should be recommended to lead a healthy life and 
avoid alcohol, but need not remain sterile, for their offspring may 
be morally and intellectually above the average, and if all 
blastophthoric influences are avoided there is a possibility or 
even probability of gradual regeneration. In short, the doctor 
must treat each case on its own merits, carefully weigh both sides 
of the question, and avoid being influenced by exclusive dogmas 
of any kind. Thus only can he give wise and useful advice. 

What is of especial importance for us, is the knowledge that it 
is not necessary, from the point of view of social hygiene, to 
prohibit marriage for the sole reason that the offspring may be 
of bad quality. We can allow psychopaths with hereditary 
taints, or even invalids of both sexes, to contract sterile mar- 
riages, by requiring them to avoid conception by some means or 
other, in the name of social hygiene and morality. In such 
cases dislocation of the tubes has a definite effect, and if we con- 
sider the negligence and weakness of mind of such individuals, 
we should do well to recommend this proceeding whenever there 
is a clear indication for inducing sterility. In this way we avoid 
cruel measures, which, by the way, are almost impracticable, 
which take away all hope of love and happiness from these unfor- 
tunates, throw them into the arms of prostitution or bitter pes- 
simism, and make them disgusted with their o'^n existence. 

Medical Secrecy. — Medical secrecy and its limitation is a very 
delicate question, especially in sexual matters. Opinions vary 
in different countries and among different individuals. In 
France medical secrecy is almost made an idol; the medical 
man may refuse to give evidence in a court of law and even con- 
ceal a crime. In Germanic countries, on the contrary, especially 
in German Switzerland, too little importance is attached to medi- 
cal secrecy. In short, medical secrecy is an elastic idea which 
is open to different interpretations. 

Although certain particular cases may present great diflfi- 



436 THE SEXUAL QUESTION 

culties, there is a middle course of moral conduct which will 
serve the purpose of every conscientious doctor. As a general 
rule the doctor's duty is to keep secret everything confided to 
him by his patients, except when the patients themselves speak 
openly of it, or authorize their doctor to do so. There are, how- 
ever, exceptions to this rule. 

First of all it assumes normal responsibility in the patient, 
and is only conditional among irresponsibles. When a lunatic, 
for example, relates to a doctor, under the seal of secrecy, certain 
things which depend on delirious ideas and which thi'eaten the 
safety of others, or which render certain measures necessary in 
the patients' own interest, the doctor's duty is to make known 
the state of affairs, but only to responsible persons. It is the 
same as regards children. It is needless to say that the doctor 
should use all possible measures in the interest of the patient 
or child. 

But even wdth responsible persons medical secrecy has its 
limits. The doctor is here only bound to secrecy so far as it 
does not injure the rights of other individuals, or those of society. 

It is the duty of a medical man to report all cases of small- 
pox or cholera, etc., even against the consent of the patient, and 
to isolate the latter to avoid an epidemic, which is contradictory 
to medical secrecy. In short, he must not, under the pretext of 
medical secrecy, become an accomplice of harmful acts or crimes. 
I will mention a few examples bearing on the sexual question: 

A sadist or a sexual pervert addicted to assaults on children 
consults a doctor and confides to him his morbid appetite. It is 
obvious that the doctor has to do with a dangerous indi\ddual 
and is at the same time in a difficult position. In this case ex- 
treme measures are bad. The doctor who simply treats the 
patient without concerning himself about the possible victims, 
contravenes his duties. The one who replies to the patient, 
"you are a beast; go away or I shall denounce you," acts in a 
still worse manner. The one who simply denounces the patient 
also puts himself in the wrong. In my opinion, the doctor 
should first of all make a thorough examination of the mental 
and sexual condition of the patient, so as to establish the degree 
of perversion and satisfy himself whether he has to do with an 



MEDICINE AND SEXUAL LIFE 437 

honest individual worthy of pity, who strives to overcome his 
morbid appetite; or, with a crafty egoist with no conscience, 
who only consults the doctor to escape from temporary diffi- 
culties into which his perversion has led him, and who indulges 
his morbid appetite without scruple, constituting a perpetual 
danger to society. Unfortunately, the latter cases are very 
common, and the doctor is usually consulted from interested 
motives only. Under these circumstances medical secrecy ren- 
ders the doctor the accomplice of the criminal. 

Between the honest patient and one who is absolutely per- 
verse, there are many transitional stages. In these cases the 
doctor should always make a careful examination before form- 
ing an opinion. If he feels uncertain, he should call in a special- 
ist in mental disease, and then act accordingly. If he is con- 
vinced that the patient has made the resolution to overcome his 
morbid appetite, and has so far resisted the temptation to in- 
jure any one, he should strengthen the patient's resistance by 
doing everything possible (except marriage) to rid him of his 
malady; he should make him aware how dangerous his condi- 
tion is to himself and to others; he may even recommend either 
castration or masturbation in case of urgency