This is no doubt a complex and difficult subject. Nature from far back time has provided in the most determined and obstinate way for the perpetuation of organic life, and has endowed animals, and even plants, with a strong sexual instinct. By natural selection this instinct tends, it would seem, to be accentuated; and in the higher animals and man it sometimes attains a pitch almost of ferocity. In civilised man this effect is further increased by the intensity of consciousness, which reflects desire on itself, as well as by collateral conditions of life and luxury.
In the animal and plant world generally, and up to the realm of Man, Nature appears to be perfectly lavish in the matter, and careless of the waste of seed and of life that may ensue, provided her object of race-propagation is attained; and naturally when the time arrives that Man, objecting to this waste, faces up to the problem, he finds it no easy one to solve.
And not only Man (the male) objects to lower
[paragraph continues] Nature's method of producing superfluous individuals only to kill them off again in the struggle for existence; but Woman objects to being a mere machine for perpetual reproduction.
For meeting this difficulty, the only way commonly proposed--short of a continence and self-control almost amounting to total abstinence--is the adoption of some kind of artificial preventatives to conception. But it must be acknowledged that artificial checks to population are for the most part very unsatisfactory. Their uncertainty, their desperate matter-of-factness, so fatal to real feeling, the probability that they are in one way or another dangerous or harmful, and then their one-sidedness, since here-as so often in matters of sex--the man's satisfaction is largely at the cost of the woman: all these things are against them. One method however--that which consists in selecting, for sexual congress, a certain part of the woman's monthly cycle, can hardly be called artificial, and is altogether the least open to the objections cited. Its success truly is not absolutely certain, but is perhaps sufficiently nearly so for the general purpose of regulating the family; and if the method involves some self-control, it does not at any rate make an impracticable demand in that direction.
There is also another method which, while it may
seem at first to demand considerable self-control, does really perhaps in the end yield fuller satisfaction than any. Late authors have pointed out that a distinction can and should be made between sexual intercourse for the definite purpose of race-propagation and sexual intercourse for simple union--that, in fact, the methods are different. Mrs. A. B. Stockham, in her little book "Karezza" (Stockham Publishing Co., Chicago), dwells on this subject. She indicates that for the latter purpose, i.e., union, there may be complete and indeed prolonged bodily conjunction; but the whole process being kept (by the use of a certain amount of physical control) on the emotional plane and the plane of endearment and affection, there need be no actual emission, and the final orgasm may be avoided. "Given abundant time and mutual reciprocity, the interchange becomes satisfactory and complete without emission or crisis by either party." The result of this is really a more complete soul-union, a strange and intoxicating exchange of life, and transmutation of elements. "The whole being of each is submerged in the other, and an exquisite exaltation experienced. . . . In the course of an hour the physical tension subsides, the spiritual exaltation increases, and not uncommonly visions of a transcendent life are seen, and consciousness of new powers
experienced." This "gives to the sexual relation an office entirely distinct from the propagative act--it is a union on the affectional plane, but at the same time it is a preparation for best possible conditions for procreation."
The importance of this distinction of the generative act from the act of union or conjunction can hardly be overrated. The two things have hitherto been undifferentiated. Though it may not be easy at once to establish the mental and other conditions necessary for the latter, yet they can be established; and the result is an avoidance of waste, and a great economy of vital forces--on the one side a more profound, helpful and satisfying union, and on the other a greater energy for procreation, when that is desired. We cannot help thinking that it is along this line that the solution of the marriage and population problem will, in time, be found. The overhanging dread of undesired child-birth, which so oppresses the life of many a young mother, will be removed; and marriage will be liberated at last from the tyranny of a brute need into the free and pleasurable exercise of a human and intelligent relationship.
PAGE 1.--"Natural reticence."
SEX belongs to the Unconscious or universal-conscious regions of our nature (which is the meaning perhaps of Modesty), and will resume its place there some day. Meanwhile, having crept into the Conscious, it must for the time being be sincerely faced there.
PAGE 9.--"To teach the child first, quite openly, its physical relation to its own mother."
"IT was not without much anxiety that I took the first step on a road I intended to explore alone. Chance favoured me. I was in Java, and amongst my servants was a dressmaker, married to the groom. This woman had a dear little baby with a velvety brown skin and bright black eyes, the admiration of my little daughter, whom I took with me to see mother and child. when the baby was a few days old. While she admired and petted it wonderingly, I said to her: 'This pretty little baby came out of Djahid like the beautiful butterfly came out of the chrysalis, it lay close to Djahid's heart, she made it, and kept it there till it grew. She loved It so much that she made it grow.' Lilly looked at me with her large, intelligent eyes in astonishment. 'Djahid is very happy to have this pretty baby. Djahid's blood made it strong while it lay close to her heart; now Djahid will give it milk, and make it strong, till it will grow as big as my Lilly.
[paragraph continues] It made Djahid ill and made her suffer when it was born, but she soon got well. and she is so glad.' Lilly listened, very much interested, and when she got home, she told her father the story, forgetting nothing. But beyond that, she did not refer again to the matter, and soon forgot all about it. The birth of Djahid's second baby gave me the opportunity of repeating the little lesson. This time she asked some questions. I explained many things to the eager little listener, very simply, and told her that the mother kept the child within her. and took great care of it until it was old enough to endure the changes of temperature, etc., and showed her how a mother's joy and love made her forget her pain. The little creature, suddenly remembering that she must have given her mother pain, kissed me tenderly. That was a flower of love and gratitude, which it was my happiness to see develop on the fruitful soil of truth . . . . . I analysed a flower, I pointed out to her the beauty of colouring, the gracefulness of shape, the tender shades, the difference between the parts composing the flowers. Gradually, I told her what these parts were called. I showed her the pollen, which clung like a beautiful golden powder to her little rosy fingers. I showed her through the microscope that this beautiful powder was composed of an infinite number of small grains. I made her examine the pistil more closely, and I showed her, at the end of the tube, the ovary, which I called a 'little house full of very tiny children.' I showed her the pollen glued to the pistil, and I told her that when the pollen of one flower, carried away by the wind, or by the insects, fell on the pistil of another flower, the small grains died, and a tiny drop of moisture passed through the tube and entered into the little house where the very tiny children dwelt; that
these tiny children were like. small eggs, that in each small egg there was an almost invisible opening, through which a little of the small drop passed; that when this drop of pollen mixed with some other wonderful power in the ovary, that both joined together to give life, and the eggs developed and became grains or fruit. I have shown her flowers which had only a pistil and others which had only stamens. I said to her, smiling, that the pistils were like little mothers, and the stamens like little fathers of the fruit . . . . . . Thus I sowed in this innocent heart and searching mind the seeds of that delicate science, which degenerates into obscenity, if the mother, through false shame, leaves the instruction of her child to its schoolfellows. Let my little girl ask me, if she likes, the much dreaded question; I will only have to remind her of the botany lessons, simply adding, 'the same thing happens to human beings, with this difference, that what is done unconsciously by the plants, is done consciously by us; that in a properly arranged society one only unites one's self to the person one loves.'"--(Translated from "La Revendication des Droits Féminins," Shafts, April, 1894, p. 237)
PAGE 11.--"The vulgarisation of love."
"I HAVE found in my experience that those who seek to draw into the selfish confines of their own breasts the electric current of Love are withered by its force and passion. The energy degrades to sensualism if it has only the Individual channel for expression. The sexual expression of Love is good and beautiful if normal, but it is not so infallible as the subtler intercourse of the soul and the affections, or so satisfying as a comradeship in work for Humanity, and a mental and spiritual affinity."-MIRIAM W. NICOL.
PAGE 20.--"In the beauty and openness of their own bodies,"
"ALL the loves--if they be heroic and not purely animal, or what is called natural, and slaves to generation as instruments in some way of nature--have for object the divinity, and tend towards divine beauty, which first is communicated to, and shines in, souls; and from them or rather through them is communicated to bodies; whence it is that well-ordered affection loves the body or corporeal beauty, insomuch as it is an indication of beauty of spirit."--GIORDANO BRUNO. "Gli Eroici Furori" (dial. iii. 13), trans. by L. Williams.
"In Sparta the spectacle of the naked human body and the natural treatment of natural things were the best safeguard against the sensual excitement artificially produced by the modern plan of separating the sexes from the earliest childhood. The forms of one sex and the functions of its specific organs were no secret to the other. There was no possibility of trifling with ambiguities."--BEBEL'S "Woman," Bellamy Library, p. 70
PAGE 22.--Generation and nutrition.
"IT is in the almost homogeneous fabrics of the cellular plants that we find the closest connection between the function of nutrition and that of reproduction; for every one of the vesicles which compose their fabric is endowed with the power of generating others similar to itself; and these may extend the parent structure or separate into new and distinct organisms. Hence it is scarcely possible to draw a line in these cases, between the nutrition of the individual and the reproduction of the species."--W. B. CARPENTER,--Principles of Human Physiology," sec. 281.
PAGE 40.--Secondary Differences, between the Sexes.
THE following are some of the points of difference given by H. Ellis in "Man and Woman" (Contemporary Science Series):--
The average cranial capacity of men is greater than that of women (as would be expected from the general proportions of the sexes), but the difference in this respect between men and women is greater in the higher civilised races than in the lower and more primitive.
Evidence points on the whole to the cerebellum being, relatively. distinctly larger in women than in men.
Intellectually, women tend to the personal and concrete, men to the general and abstract.
Women endure pain, operations, etc., better than men, and show greater tenacity of life; men are superior in motor perfection, skill, and muscle. In delicacy of sense -perceptions the two sexes are about equal.
Women show in some respects a greater affectability than men, which is encouraged by their slight tendency to anæmia, by the greater development of their vaso-motor system, and by the periodicity of their functions. They are more hypnotic; the lower--that is, the more primitive and fundamental--nerve-centres preponderate and are more excitable; hysteria, ecstasy, and suggestibility, more marked.
Men show a greater tendency to race-variation than women; abnormalities of various kinds, idiots and geniuses, are commoner amongst males. Man represents the radical or experimental element in the life of the race.
Woman represents the conservative element. She remains nearer to the child, but for that very reason is in some respects
more advanced than man, who, as he grows older, is farther off from heaven than when he was a boy."
PAGE 50.--Finesse in woman.
"THE method of attaining results by ruses (common among all the weaker lower animals) is so habitual among women that, as Lombroso and Ferrero remark, in women deception is ' almost physiological.' . . . But to regard the caution and indirectness of women as due to innate wickedness, would, it need scarcely be said, be utterly irrational. It is inevitable, and results from the constitution of women, acting in the conditions under which they are generally placed. There is at present no country in the world, certainly no civilised country, in which a woman may safely state openly her wishes and desires, and proceed openly to seek their satisfaction.'--H. ELLIS, "Man and Woman," p. 174.
PAGE 54 (note).--"The freedom of Woman must ultimately rest on the Communism of society."
THE reproduction of the race is a social function, and we are compelled to conclude that it is the duty of the community, as a community, to provide for the child-bearer when in the exercise of her social function she is unable to provide for herself. The woman engaged in producing a new member, who maybe a source of incalculable profit or danger to the whole community, cannot fail to be a source of the liveliest solicitude to everyone in the community, and it was a sane and beautiful instinct that found expression of old in the permission accorded to the pregnant woman to enter gardens and orchards, and freely help herself."--HAVELOCK ELLIS, Pamphlet on "Evolution in Sex," p. 15.
"She held it just that women should be so provided for, because the mothers of the community fulfil in the State as important and necessary a function as the men themselves do."--GRANT ALLEN, "The Woman who Did," p. 73.
PAGE 56.--"Menstrual troubles and disturbances."
THERE is little doubt that menstruation, as it occurs to-day in the vast majority of cases, is somehow pathological and out of the order of nature. In animals the periodic loss is so small as to be scarcely noticeable, and among primitive races of mankind it is as a rule markedly less than among the higher and later races. We may therefore suppose that its present excess is attributable to certain conditions of life which have prevailed for a number of centuries, and which, have continuously acted to bring about a feverish disposition of the sexual apparatus, and an hereditary tendency to recurrent manifestations of a diseased character, Among conditions of life which in all probability would act in this way may be counted (1) the indoor life and occupations of women, leading to degeneration of the neuro-muscular system, weakness, and inflammability; (2) the heightening of the sex-passion in both men and women with the increase of luxury and artificialism in life; (3) the subjection of the woman to the unrestrained use and even abuse of the man, which inevitably took place as soon as she--with the changes in the old tribal life--became his chattel and slave; and which has continued practically ever since. These three causes; acting together over so long a period may well seem sufficient to have induced a morbid and excessive habit in the female organism; and if so we may hope that with their removal the excess itself and a vast amount of concomitant human misery and waste of life-power will disappear.
PAGE 60.--"Natural desires."
ALTHOUGH I agree with Malthus as to the value of virtuous abstinence, the sad conviction is forced upon me as a physician that the chaste morality of women--which though it is certainly a high virtue in our modern states is none the less a crime against nature--not unfrequently revenges itself in the cruellest forms of disease."--DR. HEGERISCH, translator of Malthus.
PAGE 63.--"They must learn to fight."
WOMEN have as little to hope from men as workmen from the middle classes."--BEBEL, "Woman," p. 72.
PAGE 65.--Sexual selection exercised by the female.
"HUNGER--that is to say, what we call economic causes--has, because it is the more widespread and constant, though not necessarily the more imperious instinct, produced nearly all the great zoological revolutions. . . . Yet love has, in the form of sexual selection, even before we reach the vertebrates, moulded races to the ideal of the female; and reproduction is always the chief end of nutrition which hunger waits on, the supreme aim of life everywhere."--Evolution in Sex," p. 12.
PAGE 71.--"The features of a grander type."
"TOWARDS the Future I look and see a greater race to come--of beautiful women, athletic, free, able in mind and logic, great in love and in maternal instincts, unashamed of their bodies and of the sexual parts of them, calm in nerve, and with a chronic recognition of Spiritual qualities--a race of men, gentle, strong, courageous, continent, affectionate, unselfish, large in body and mind, full of pluck and brawn,
able to suffer, clean and honest in their animal necessities, self-confident, with no king or overseer."--MIRIAM WHEELER NICOL.
PAGE 77.--"The search for a fitting mate."
WITH the disappearance of the artificial barriers in the way of friendship between the sexes, and of the economic motive to sexual relationships--which are perhaps the two chief forces now tending to produce promiscuous sexual intercourse. whether dignified or not with the name of marriage-men and women will be free to engage, unhampered, in the search, so complicated in a highly civilised condition of society, for a fitting mate."--"Evolution in Sex," p. 13.
PAGE 78 (note).--Desire of congress less strong in woman.
"I WILL mention here that from various late sources of information I conclude that sexual insensibility in women is much commoner than usually assumed. Of course I mean by this, insensibility as from the sexual standpoint: of the sense of pleasure and satisfaction in congress, as well as the desire for congress. This desire is much less frequent in woman than generally supposed. But the soul-side of love on the other hand is often more prominent in females than in males."--A. MOLL, "Conträre Sexual-empfindung, 2nd edn., p. 325.
PAGE 83.--"In this serf-life their very matures have been blunted."
"NOT so the wife; however brutal a tyrant she may be chained to . . . he can claim from her and enforce the lowest degradation of a human being, that of being made the instrument of an animal function contrary to her inclinations. . . No amount of ill-usage, without adultery superadded, will in England free a wife from her tormentor. "-MILL'S -Subjection of Women," 1869
Clitheroe Case, 1891.--After the refusal of the wife to cohabit, the husband said ---"I therefore took my wife, and have since detained her in my house, using no more force or restraint than necessary to take her and keep her."
The Lord Chancellor said "I am of opinion that no such right or power exists in law"--and ordered the lady to be restored to her liberty.--"Woman Free," by ELLIS ETHELMER, p. 144.
PAGE 96.--The Monogamic Marriage.
IN attempting to estimate the moral worth of a people, a race, or a civilisation, we are much more enlightened by the position given to woman than by the legal type of the conjugal union. This type, besides, is usually more apparent than real. In many civilisations, both dead and living, legal monogamy has for its chief object the regulation of succession and the division of property."--LETOURNEAU, "Evolution of Marriage," p. 186.
Conjugal unions among the animals.--"Among many of the animal species the sexual union induces a durable association, having for its object the rearing of young. In nobility, delicacy, and devotion these unions do not yield precedence to many human unions."--Ibid., p. 19.
"It is especially interesting to study the various modes of conjugal and familial association among birds. This may be easily inferred from the ardour, the variety and delicacy they bring to their amours. . . . There are some birds absolutely fickle and even debauched--as, for example, the little American starling (Icterus pecoris), which changes its female from day to day. . . . Other species, while they have renounced promiscuity, are still determined polygamists. The gallinacae are particularly addicted to this form of
conjugal union, which is so common in fan with mankind, highly civilised and boasting of their practice of even when monogamy. Our barndoor cock, vain and sensual, courageous and jealous, is a perfect type of the polygamous bird." . . .--Ibid, p. 26.
"Nearly all the rapacious animals, even the stupid vultures, are monogamous. The conjugal union of the bald-headed eagle appears even to last till the death of one of the partners." . . .
"With the female Illinois parrot (Psittacus pertinax) widowhood and death are synonymous, a circumstance rare enough in the human species. yet of which the birds give us more than one example. When, after some years of conjugal life, a Wheat-ear happens to die, his companion hardly survives him a month."--Ibid, p. 27.
"Bad fathers are rare among birds. Often on the contrary the male rivals the female in love for the young, he guards and feeds her during incubation, and sometimes even sits on the eggs with her. The carrier pigeon feeds his female while she is sitting; the Canadian goose and the crow do the same; more than that the latter takes his companion's place at times, to give her some relaxation. The blue marten behaves in the same manner. Among many species male and female combine their efforts without distinction of sex; they sit in turn, and the one who is free takes the duty of feeding the one who is occupied. This is the custom of the black-coated gull, the booby of Bassan, the great blue heron, and of the black vulture."--Ibid, p. 30.
"In regard to mammals, there is no strict relation between the degree of intellectual development and the form of sexual union. The carnivorous animals often live in couples; but
this is not an absolute rule, for the South African lion is frequently accompanied by four or five females. Bears, weasels, whales, etc., generally go in couples. Sometimes species that are very nearly allied have different conjugal customs; thus the white-checked peccary lives in troops, whilst the white-ringed peccary lives in couples. There is the same diversity in the habits of monkeys. Some are polygamous and others monogamous. The Wanderoo (Macacus Silenus) of India has only one female and is faithful to her until death. The Cebus Capucinus, on the contrary is polygamous. "--Ibid, p. 33.
PAGE 102.--"The destinies of a life-time."
"UNLIKE the Catholic Church in its dealings with novices, Society demands [in marriage] the ring, the parchment, and the vow as a preliminary to the knowledge and experience; hence adulteries, the divorce court, home-prisons, and the increase of cant and pruriency in the community. Unless a woman knows what a man's body is like, with its virile needs, and realises to the full her own adult necessities, how is it possible that she can have the faintest conception as to whether the romantic passionate impulse a man awakens in her is the trinity of love, trust and reverence, which alone lays the foundations of real marriage?"--EDITH M. ELLIS, "A Noviciate for Marriage," p. 13.
PAGE 107.--"Contracts of some kind will still be made."
"IT is therefore probable that a future more or less distant will inaugurate the régime of monogamic unions, freely contracted, and, at need, freely dissolved by simple mutual consent, as is already the case with divorces in various European countries--at Geneva, in Belgium, in Roumania,
etc.--and with separation in Italy. In these divorces of the future, the community will only intervene in order to safeguard that which is of vital interest to it--the fate and the education of the children. But this evolution in the manner of understanding and practising marriage will operate slowly, for it supposes an entire corresponding revolution in public opinion; moreover, it requires as a corollary profound modifications in the social organism."--LETOURNEAU, "Evolution of Marriage," p. 358.
"The antique morals which hold woman as a servile property belonging to her husband still live in many minds. They will he extinguished by degrees. The matrimonial contract will end by being the same kind of contract as any other, freely accepted, freely maintained, freely dissolved; but where constraint has disappeared deception becomes an unworthy offence. Such will be the opinion of a future humanity, more elevated morally than ours. Doubtless it will no longer have any tender indulgence for conveniently dissimulated adultery, but, on the other hand, it will no longer excuse the avenging husband."--Ibid, p. 148.
PAGE 108.--Contracts preliminary to a permanent alliance.
THE custom of hand-fasting, rare now anywhere else, still prevails to some extent in Iceland. A man and woman contract to live together for a year. If at the end of the year the parties agree thereto, they are married; if not, they separate without stigma on either side, The contract may be made conditionally binding from the first. It may bind the parties to marry in the event of issue, or in the event of no issue, as the case may be."--PROF. MAVOR, "Iceland: Some sociological and other notes," Proceedings Philosophical Society, Glasgow, 1890-91.
PAGE 114.--The Intermediate Sex.
"Urning men and women, on whose book of life Nature has written her new word which sounds so strange to us, bear such storm and stress within them, such ferment and fluctuation, so much complex material having its outlet only towards the future; their individualities are so rich and many-sided, and withal so little understood, that it is impossible to characterise them adequately in a few sentences."--Otto de Joux.
PAGE 141.--A certain amount of animalism.
"The Saviours of this, as of every corrupt and stupid generation, must feel the pulse of the adulterer as well as that of his victim, and stand clear-eyed and honest as pioneers of the new sexual renaissance, which will probably combine a healthy temperate animalism with Browning's vision of that rare mating when soul lies by soul."--EDITH M. ELLIS, "A Noviciate for Marriage," p. 4.
"She gave him comprehension of the meaning of love: a word in many mouths, not often explained. With her, wound in his idea of her, he perceived it to signify a new start in our existence, a finer shoot of the tree stoutly planted in good gross earth; the senses running their live sap, and the minds companioned, and the spirits made one by the whole-natured conjunction. In sooth, a happy prospect for the sons and daughters of Earth, divinely indicating more than happiness: the speeding of us, compact of what we are, between the ascetic rocks and the sensual whirlpools, to the creation of certain nobler races, now very dimly imagined."--GEORGE MEREDITH'S "Diana of the Crossways," ch. 37.