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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

 

4. _The Civilizational Value of Prostitution._--The moral argument for 

prostitution is based on the belief that our marriage system is so 

infinitely precious that an institution which serves as its buttress must 

be kept in existence, however ugly or otherwise objectionable it may in 

itself be. There is, however, another argument in support of prostitution 

which scarcely receives the emphasis it deserves. I refer to its influence 

in adding an element, in some form or another necessary, of gaiety and 

variety to the ordered complexity of modern life, a relief from the 

monotony of its mechanical routine, a distraction from its dull and 

respectable monotony. This is distinct from the more specific function of 

prostitution as an outlet for superfluous sexual energy, and may even 

affect those who have little or no commerce with prostitutes. This 

element may be said to constitute the civilizational value of 

prostitution. 

 

It is not merely the general conditions of civilization, but more 

specifically the conditions of urban life, which make this factor 

insistent. Urban life imposes by the stress of competition a very severe 

and exacting routine of dull work. At the same time it makes men and women 

more sensitive to new impressions, more enamored of excitement and change. 

It multiplies the opportunities of social intercourse; it decreases the 

chances of detection of illegitimate intercourse while at the same time it 

makes marriage more difficult, for, by heightening social ambitions and 

increasing the expenses of living, it postpones the time when a home can 

be created. Urban life delays marriage and yet renders the substitutes for 

marriage more imperative.[201] 

 

There cannot be the slightest doubt that it is this motive--the effort to 

supplement the imperfect opportunities for self-development offered by our 

restrained, mechanical, and laborious civilization--which plays one of the 

chief parts in inducing women to adopt, temporarily or permanently, a 

prostitute's life. We have seen that the economic factor is not, as was 

once supposed, by any means predominant in this choice. Nor, again, is 

there any reason to suppose that an over-mastering sexual impulse is a 

leading factor. But a large number of young women turn instinctively to a 

life of prostitution because they are moved by an obscure impulse which 

they can scarcely define to themselves or express, and are often ashamed 

to confess. It is, therefore, surprising that this motive should find so 

large a place even in the formal statistics of the factors of 

prostitution. Merrick, in London, found that 5000, or nearly a third, of 

the prostitutes he investigated, voluntarily gave up home or situation 

"for a life of pleasure," and he puts this at the head of the causes of 

prostitution.[202] In America Sanger found that "inclination" came almost 

at the head of the causes of prostitution, while Woods Hutchinson found 

"love of display, luxury and idleness" by far at the head. "Disgusted and 

wearied with work" is the reason assigned by a large number of Belgian 

girls when stating to the police their wish to be enrolled as prostitutes. 

In Italy a similar motive is estimated to play an important part. In 

Russia "desire for amusement" comes second among the causes of 

prostitution. There can, I think, be little doubt that, as a thoughtful 

student of London life has concluded, the problem of prostitution is "at 

bottom a mad and irresistible craving for excitement, a serious and wilful 

revolt against the monotony of commonplace ideals, and the uninspired 

drudgery of everyday life."[203] It is this factor of prostitution, we may 

reasonably conclude, which is mainly responsible for the fact, pointed out 


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