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has long been lost and nothing remains unknown to them, but--they
have preserved their hymens! That is for the sake of the future
husband. Let no one dare to doubt their innocence with that
unimpeachable evidence! And if another girl, who has passed her
childhood in complete purity, now, with awakened senses and warm
impetuous womanliness, gives herself to a man in love or even
only in passion, they all stand up and scream that she is
'dishonored!' And, not least, the prostituted girl with the
hymen. It is she indeed who screams loudest and throws the
biggest stones. Yet the 'dishonored' woman, who is sound and
wholesome, need not fear to tell what she has done to the man who
desires her in marriage, speaking as one human being to another.
She has no need to blush, she has exercised her human rights, and
no reasonable man will on that account esteem her the less" (Dr.
H. Paul, "Die Ueberschaetzung der Jungfernschaft," _Geschlecht und
Gesellschaft_, Bd. ii, p. 14, 1907).
In a similar spirit writes F. Erhard (_Geschlecht und
Gesellschaft_, Bd. i, p. 408): "Virginity in one sense has its
worth, but in the ordinary sense it is greatly overestimated.
Apart from the fact that a girl who possesses it may yet be
thoroughly perverted, this over-estimation of virginity leads to
the girl who is without it being despised, and has further
resulted in the development of a special industry for the
preparation, by means of a prudishly cloistral education, of
girls who will bring to their husbands the peculiar dainty of a
bride who knows nothing about anything. Naturally, this can only
be achieved at the expense of any rational education. What the
undeveloped little goose may turn into, no man can foresee."
Freud (_Sexual-Probleme_, March, 1908) also points out the evil
results of the education for marriage which is given to girls on
the basis of this ideal of virginity. "Education undertakes the
task of repressing the girl's sensuality until the time of
betrothal. It not only forbids sexual relations and sets a high
premium on innocence, but it also withdraws the ripening womanly
individuality from temptation, maintaining a state of ignorance
concerning the practical side of the part she is intended to play
in life, and enduring no stirring of love which cannot lead to
marriage. The result is that when she is suddenly permitted to
fall in love by the authority of her elders, the girl cannot
bring her psychic disposition to bear, and goes into marriage
uncertain of her own feelings. As a consequence of this
artificial retardation of the function of love she brings nothing
but deception to the husband who has set all his desires upon
her, and manifests frigidity in her physical relations with him."
Senancour (_De l'Amour_, vol. i, p. 285) even believes that, when
it is possible to leave out of consideration the question of
offspring, not only will the law of chastity become equal for the
two sexes, but there will be a tendency for the situation of the
sexes to be, to some extent, changed. "Continence becomes a
counsel rather than a precept, and it is in women that the
voluptuous inclination will be regarded with most indulgence. Man
is made for work; he only meets pleasure in passing; he must be
content that women should occupy themselves with it more than he.
It is men whom it exhausts, and men must always, in part,
restrain their desires."
As, however, we liberate ourselves from the bondage of a compulsory
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