Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
PREFACE
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.1
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.2
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.3
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.4
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.5
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.1
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.2
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.3
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.4
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.5
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.6
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.7
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.8
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.9
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.10
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.11
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.1
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.2
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.3
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.4
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.1
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.2
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.3
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.4
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.1
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.2
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.3
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.4
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.5
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.6
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.1
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.2
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.3
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.4
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.5
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.6
PROSTITUTION-7.1
PROSTITUTION-7.2
PROSTITUTION-7.3
PROSTITUTION-7.4
PROSTITUTION-7.5
PROSTITUTION-7.6
PROSTITUTION-7.7
PROSTITUTION-7.8
PROSTITUTION-7.9
PROSTITUTION-7.10
PROSTITUTION-7.11
PROSTITUTION-7.12
PROSTITUTION-7.13
PROSTITUTION-7.14
PROSTITUTION-7.15
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2

 

 

As we turn from savages towards peoples in the barbarous and civilized 

stages we find a general tendency for chastity, in so far as it is a 

common possession of the common people, to be less regarded, or to be 

retained only as a traditional convention no longer strictly observed. The 

old grounds for chastity in primitive religions and _tabu_ have decayed 

and no new grounds have been generally established. "Although the progress 

of civilization," wrote Gibbon long ago, "has undoubtedly contributed to 

assuage the fiercer passions of human nature, it seems to have been less 

favorable to the virtue of chastity," and Westermarck concludes that 

"irregular connections between the sexes have, on the whole, exhibited a 

tendency to increase along with the progress of civilization." 

 

The main difference in the social function of chastity as we pass from 

savagery to higher stages of culture seems to be that it ceases to exist 

as a general hygienic measure or a general ceremonial observance, and, for 

the most part, becomes confined to special philosophic or religious sects 

which cultivate it to an extreme degree in a more or less professional 

way. This state of things is well illustrated by the Roman Empire during 

the early centuries of the Christian era.[73] Christianity itself was at 

first one of these sects enamored of the ideal of chastity; but by its 

superior vitality it replaced all the others and finally imposed its 

ideals, though by no means its primitive practices, on European society 

generally. 

 

Chastity manifested itself in primitive Christianity in two different 

though not necessarily opposed ways. On the one hand it took a stern and 

practical form in vigorous men and women who, after being brought up in a 

society permitting a high degree of sexual indulgence, suddenly found 

themselves convinced of the sin of such indulgence. The battle with the 

society they had been born into, and with their own old impulses and 

habits, became so severe that they often found themselves compelled to 

retire from the world altogether. Thus it was that the parched solitudes 

of Egypt were peopled with hermits largely occupied with the problem of 

subduing their own flesh. Their pre-occupation, and indeed the 

pre-occupation of much early Christian literature, with sexual matters, 

may be said to be vastly greater than was the case with the pagan society 

they had left. Paganism accepted sexual indulgence and was then able to 

dismiss it, so that in classic literature we find very little insistence 

on sexual details except in writers like Martial, Juvenal and Petronius 

who introduce them mainly for satirical ends. But the Christians could not 

thus escape from the obsession of sex; it was ever with them. We catch 

interesting glimpses of their struggles, for the most part barren 

struggles, in the Epistles of St. Jerome, who had himself been an athlete 

in these ascetic contests. 

 

"Oh, how many times," wrote St. Jerome to Eustochium, the virgin 

to whom he addressed one of the longest and most interesting of 

his letters, "when in the desert, in that vast solitude which, 

burnt up by the heart of the sun, offers but a horrible dwelling 

to monks, I imagined myself among the delights of Rome! I was 

alone, for my soul was full of bitterness. My limbs were covered 

by a wretched sack and my skin was as black as an Ethiopian's. 

Every day I wept and groaned, and if I was unwillingly overcome 

by sleep my lean body lay on the bare earth. I say nothing of my 

food and drink, for in the desert even invalids have no drink but 

cold water, and cooked food is regarded as a luxury. Well, I, 


Page 1 from 4: [1]  2   3   4   Forward