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

CHAPTER VI. 

 

THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE. 

 

The Influence of Tradition--The Theological Conception of Lust--Tendency 

of These Influences to Degrade Sexual Morality--Their Result in Creating 

the Problem of Sexual Abstinence--The Protests Against Sexual 

Abstinence--Sexual Abstinence and Genius--Sexual Abstinence in Women--The 

Advocates of Sexual Abstinence--Intermediate Attitude--Unsatisfactory 

Nature of the Whole Discussion--Criticism of the Conception of Sexual 

Abstinence--Sexual Abstinence as Compared to Abstinence from Food--No 

Complete Analogy--The Morality of Sexual Abstinence Entirely Negative--Is 

It the Physician's Duty to Advise Extra-Conjugal Sexual 

Intercourse?--Opinions of Those Who Affirm or Deny This Duty--The 

Conclusion Against Such Advice--The Physician Bound by the Social and 

Moral Ideas of His Age--The Physician as Reformer--Sexual Abstinence and 

Sexual Hygiene--Alcohol--The Influence of Physical and Mental 

Exercise--The Inadequacy of Sexual Hygiene in This Field--The Unreal 

Nature of the Conception of Sexual Abstinence--The Necessity of Replacing 

It by a More Positive Ideal. 

 

 

When we look at the matter from a purely abstract or even purely 

biological point of view, it might seem that in deciding that asceticism 

and chastity are of high value for the personal life we have said all that 

is necessary to say. That, however, is very far from being the case. We 

soon realize here, as at every point in the practical application of 

sexual psychology, that it is not sufficient to determine the abstractly 

right course along biological lines. We have to harmonize our biological 

demands with social demands. We are ruled not only by natural instincts 

but by inherited traditions, that in the far past were solidly based on 

intelligible grounds, and that even still, by the mere fact of their 

existence, exert a force which we cannot and ought not to ignore. 

 

In discussing the valuation of the sexual impulse we found that we had 

good ground for making a very high estimate of love. In discussing 

chastity and asceticism we found that they also are highly to be valued. 

And we found that, so far from any contradiction being here involved, 

love and chastity are intertwined in all their finest developments, and 

that there is thus a perfect harmony in apparent opposition. But when we 

come to consider the matter in detail, in its particular personal 

applications, we find that a new factor asserts itself. We find that our 

inherited social and religious traditions exert a pressure, all on one 

side, which makes it impossible to place the relations of love and 

chastity simply on the basis of biology and reason. We are confronted at 

the outset by our traditions. On the one side these traditions have 

weighted the word "lust"--considered as expressing all the manifestations 

of the sexual impulse which are outside marriage or which fail to have 

marriage as their direct and ostentatious end--with deprecatory and 

sinister meanings. And on the other side these traditions have created the 

problem of "sexual abstinence," which has nothing to do with either 

asceticism or chastity as these have been defined in the previous chapter, 

but merely with the purely negative pressure on the sexual impulse, 

exerted, independently of the individual's wishes, by his religious and 

social environment. 

 

The theological conception of "lust," or "libido," as sin, followed 

logically the early Christian conception of "the flesh," and became 

inevitable as soon as that conception was firmly established. Not only, 

indeed, had early Christian ideals a degrading influence on the estimation 

of sexual desire _per se_, but they tended to depreciate generally the 


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