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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

 

In Protestant countries the ascetic ideal of chastity was still further 

discredited by the Reformation movement which was in considerable part a 

revolt against compulsory celibacy. Religion was thus no longer placed on 

the side of chastity. In the eighteenth century, if not earlier, the 

authority of Nature also was commonly invoked against chastity. It has 

thus happened that during the past two centuries serious opinion 

concerning chastity has only been partially favorable to it. It began to 

be felt that an unhappy and injurious mistake had been perpetrated by 

attempting to maintain a lofty ideal which encouraged hypocrisy. "The 

human race would gain much," as Senancour wrote early in the nineteenth 

century in his remarkable book on love, "if virtue were made less 

laborious. The merit would not be so great, but what is the use of an 

elevation which can rarely be sustained?"[78] 

 

There can be no doubt that the undue discredit into which the idea of 

chastity began to fall from the eighteenth century onwards was largely 

due to the existence of that merely external and conventional physical 

chastity which was arbitrarily enforced so far as it could be 

enforced,--and is indeed in some degree still enforced, nominally or 

really,--upon all respectable women outside marriage. The conception of 

the physical virtue of virginity had degraded the conception of the 

spiritual virtue of chastity. A mere routine, it was felt, prescribed to a 

whole sex, whether they would or not, could never possess the beauty and 

charm of a virtue. At the same time it began to be realized that, as a 

matter of fact, the state of compulsory virginity is not only not a state 

especially favorable to the cultivation of real virtues, but that it is 

bound up with qualities which are no longer regarded as of high value.[79] 

 

"How arbitrary, artificial, contrary to Nature, is the life now 

imposed upon women in this matter of chastity!" wrote James 

Hinton forty years ago. "Think of that line: 'A woman who 

deliberates is lost.' We _make_ danger, making all womanhood hang 

upon a point like this, and surrounding it with unnatural and 

preternatural dangers. There is a wanton unreason embodied in the 

life of woman now; the present 'virtue' is a morbid unhealthy 

plant. Nature and God never poised the life of a woman upon such 

a needle's point. The whole modern idea of chastity has in it 

sensual exaggeration, surely, in part, remaining to us from other 

times, with what was good in it in great part gone." 

 

"The whole grace of virginity," wrote another philosopher, 

Guyau, "is ignorance. Virginity, like certain fruits, can only 

be preserved by a process of desiccation." 

 

Merimee pointed out the same desiccating influence of virginity. 

In a letter dated 1859 he wrote: "I think that nowadays people 

attach far too much importance to chastity. Not that I deny that 

chastity is a virtue, but there are degrees in virtues just as 

there are in vices. It seems to be absurd that a woman should be 

banished from society for having had a lover, while a woman who 

is miserly, double-faced and spiteful goes everywhere. The 

morality of this age is assuredly not that which is taught in the 

Gospel. In my opinion it is better to love too much than not 

enough. Nowadays dry hearts are stuck up on a pinnacle" (_Revue 

des Deux Mondes_, April, 1896). 

 

Dr. H. Paul has developed an allied point. She writes: "There are 

girls who, even as children, have prostituted themselves by 

masturbation and lascivious thoughts. The purity of their souls 


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