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JAN 11 1917

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Second Edition Revised and Enlarged

F. A. DAVIS COMPANY, Publishers

English Depot

Stanley Phillips, London




Copyright, Great Britain. All Rights Reserved

Philadelphia, Pa., U. S. A.

Press of F, A. Davis Company

1914-16 Cherry Street







The first edition of this book was written with sufficient
consciousness of having a purpose to fulfill, or a message to
deliver, but in much literary inexperience. I had not chosen to
address a particular circle of readers, and I did not produce a
book which was readily assignable to any special class of

It is too late now to remedy in full this defect, wliich
after all perhaps occasioned a broader, more human treatment
of the subject than I should otherwise have given it. It is
meant for thoughtful readers in general, not for any particular
class or profession. If, however, one must name a section of
literature to which to assign it, perhaps it should be included
in moral theology. Havelock Ellis has shown that modern
scientific sex literature has an ample precedent in the passion-
less survey of sexual phenomena made by Sanchez and other
Catholic moralists.!

This body of Catholic literature has often been criti-
cised and even denounced ;- nor indeed are the strictures upon
it always irrelevant or unjustified. But it must not be inferred
from the fact that such a thing as bad casuistry exists, that
no science of casuistry is needed, and that no good casuistry
is possible.-'^ Rather, it is now increasingly recognized that,
however faulty particular expositions of sexual moral theology
may be, this science holds a rightful place in the scheme of

1 General Preface to the Studies in the Psychology of Sex.

2 See, e.g., von Hoensbroech, Fourteen Years a Jesuit, vol. ii,
p. 293; in particular, Mohler's utterance there quoted.

2" Cf. R. M. Wenley, art. Casuistry, in Hastings. Encycl. Rel.

Ethics, vol



knowledge, and has an imjiortant function to fulrtll in the
moral education of mankind.

A sound apologetic for this branch of moral theology has
been recently developed by the erudite Iwan Bloch. whose
words I quote: "There come times when a man feels the
need of relieving his mind, by the confession of even his sex-
ual troubles. In this fact lies a certain justification of the
books of confession and the subtle sexual casuistry of the
moral theologians, works which have indeed been composed
with a view to application to practical life."

After indicating the spiritual aspect of medical science.
and emphasizing its claim to be a formative influence in the
aforesaid province of moral theology, Bloch welcomes as a
sign of progress a new. scientifically conceived defense,
ofifered by a Roman Catholic thinker, of the study of sex."'

In fact, Howard's prophecy of a few years since, "* that
sex questions would come to hold an honorable place in human
thought, is already being rapidly fulfilled. A vast body of
literature, iar greater than I have been able to acquaint myself
with in detail, has appeared on the study of sex within the
past ten years. Dr. Havelock Ellis has completed his elaborate
Studies on the Psychology of Sex. Important and massive
work has been produced by Forel, Westermarck. Bloch, and
other eminent scientists, scholars, and thinkers. Sex ques-
tions are being elaborately considered by various writers in Dr.
Hastings's Eucychpcrdia of Religion and Ethics.

Notable events in the progress of sex studies have been
the publication in Germany of Moll's Haiidhuch der Scxiial-
zi'isscnschaftcji, and the announcement and commencement of
a yet more elaborate survey by Bloch and others, of the great

Another significant fact is the formation of special
societies for the study of sex in one or other of its bearings.

■'• Bloch, Die Prostitution, bk. i, pp. 644f.

■* Howard, Hist, of Matrimonial Institutions, vol. iii, p. 257.


These societies have their literary organs : the Eugenics
Rcvicio, Prcz'eiitioii, Die Nciic Generation, and the Itahan pub-
Hcation // Rogo, are but instances out of a number of such

b'inally, the organized churches have begun to join in the
movement for the vmderstanding of sex. I have frequently
quoted in the following pages the first volume (published with
the im])rimatur of the Church of Rome) of a work, OuastiOnes
Theologice Medicopasioralis, of which further volumes are an-
nounced. In England a series of tracts on sex questions has
been coming out under the interconfessional and undenomina-
tional auspices of the National Council of Public Morals,
which numbers many Anglican bishops and other ecclesiastical
dignitaries among its vice-presidents.

The series is popular in conception and consequently free
from technicalities; its basis is scientific as well as religious;
and it exhibits an ethical foresight in which boldness is, occa-
sionally, at least as visible as caution."' It was, further, cer-
tainly significant — it was a striking admission of the claim of
modern science to influence the sex ethic — that the writer who
was chosen to open this remarkable series was Dr. Havelock
Ellis. For this scientist had had not only to labor, but to
encoimter legal opposition, in the production of the book
already referred to, a book regarded not only in England and

''E.g.. Dr. Saleeby says: "Even the supposed ultimate canons of
morality must be re-examined and, if necessary, revised or restated in
order to arrive at the supreme end for which the world was made, —
the production of noble men and women" (The Methods of Race
Regeneration, p. 14) ; and two biologists. Professors Geddes and
Thomson, who have been given a prominent part in the program, in a
companion work of theirs on Sex, in spite of Forel's revolutionary
views and his attitude of aloofness to religious revelation (See Die
sexuelle Frage, Kap. xiv, ed. 1; Kap. xv, ed. 10), recommend the
English edition of his remarkable work as "the best general work on
sex." They would perhaps emphasize the fact that the English version
is "an adaptation."


America, but in Germany also, as setting the standard, in the
matter of learning and scientific range, for the literature of
sex.^ The issue of his tract The Problem of Race Regenera-
tion, accompanied with a recognition, on the part of the organ-
izers of the series, of his eminence as a student of sex, implied
a victory not only for the writer himself, in his personal con-
flict, but for the cause he represents, the rights of the inductive
method in the understanding of sex and the sex ethic.

Nor is the development of the study of sex barren in
social efl:'ect. It is aft'ecting legislation ; and civilized humanity
watches the process, at the several points of marriage, eugenics,
and criminology, with interest that now flushes into hope and
now darkens into anxiety.

In face' of all this mental activity, in presence of all the
aforesaid richly informed and weighty opinion, it is with no
slight feeling of diffidence that I present to the public this new
edition of my book.'^ It still is, what it was at first, imperfect
and fragmentary. But for a writer to deplore overmuch such
an aspect of his work would only indicate an overestimate of
its importance ; and it is right to remember that, as Bloch has
observed, "We have attained to the knowledge that no one
person can undertake the mighty work of revising the bear-

^ See Dr. Helene Stocker in Die Neue Generation, Jahrg. 8,
Heft 7; and A. E. Crawley's review of Ellis's Sex and Society, in the
Eugenics Review, and esp. A. Moll, pref. to The Sexual Life of the

■^ I should mention that this book is written with no special ref-
erence to American problems or conditions. The only reason why it
is published in the United States is that, some years ago at any rate,
American publishers had more courage and enterprise than English
publishers in connection with work on sex questions. The fact is
that in the progress of my work I have felt more and more the dis-
advantage of having never been to the States and of possessing, con-
sequently, a very imperfect knowledge of the efforts which that great
community is making toward the solution of sexual and other moral
problems. The American Social Hygiene Association is making a gen-
eral survey of the sex ethic in the States (The Shield, Oct., 1915).


ings of sexual morality on the basis of the change in con-
ditions wrought by civilization, but that such an effort demands
the co-operation of many; and that the sexual question is only
a part of the social question, whose lines of direction cannot
be changed suddenly, but only very gradually."'^

When I had at length seen the first edition of this book
through the press and held a copy of it in my hand, I was
tempted, with the natural pride w4iich an author feels especially
in regard to his first book, to hope that it would speedily at-
tract considerable attention. Immediately a thought came to
me, shaping itself in such words as these : "Well, after all,
you may see, when a few years have passed, that it was best
that your book should have been quietly useful." Such was
indeed the course things took. The book procured for its
author no literary fame ; but on sufficient evidence I may hope
and believe that it has indeed been quietly useful in its
province of thought. And I trust that this good destiny will
now be further fulfilled; that where, if anywhere, Christianity
and Sex Problems advances wrong or injudicious views, more
competent students than myself may be moved to disprove
them ; and that the book may continue to be quietly useful ; of
real, if humble and imperfect, service in upholding the ulti-
mate objective principles and categorical elements of sexual
morality, and in testing the empirical solutions of the prob-
lems raised by their relation to the social, psychological, and
other phenomena revealed by the progressive science of sex."

H.. North COTE.


8 I. Bloch, in Die Neuc Generation, Jahrg. 8, Heft 1, p. 22.

^ The absence in this book of any allusion to the great war will
cause the less surprise when it is considered that a state of war does
not so much raise new problems in the sex life as increase the urgency
of some of those which exist, and occasion emergency measures.
(For discussions see The Shield, since the outljreak of war.)


This book has been composed amid the pressure of
numerous duties and in several circumstances of difficuUy.
The author feels that the most he has accomplished is the
production of a series of fragmentary and imperfect studies
upon his subject.

His thanks are due to several gentlemen in New Zealand,
Australia, the South Sea Islands and elsewhere, for courteous
answers given to his inquiries. They are due especially to
Prof. F. W. Haslam, of Canterbury College, X. Z., and to Dr.
Havelock Ellis, from whom he received invaluable sympathy
and encouragement at a difficult stage of his labors. That the
writer is further greatly indebted to this eminent scientist, as
also to Dr. W'estermarck and Mr. Crawley, will be sufficiently




Ethic of the Sexes — Science of Sex — Literature on Sex Questions

— General Result of Present Inquiry 1


General View of Sex Love.

Sexual Love — Its Intensity — Modesty — Biblical Views of Sexual-
ity — Exaggeration of Sexuality on the Carnal Side — Modern
Efforts to Regulate Sexuality 6


Analysis of Sex Love.

What is Sex Love? — Illustration from the Rainbow — Psychological
Elements in Love — Abnormal Developments — Two Historical
Instances — Ethical Aspects of Love — Sex Lives of Saints —
Problems of Love 22


Sexuality in Childhood.

Se.xual Vice — Difficulties in Coping With — x\nalysis of, in Humanity
— Sexual Vice in Animals — Among Children — Methods of Deal-
ing With — Hygiene — Moral Suasion — Teaching — Punishments . 31


The Mixing of the Sexes in Schools and Institutions.

Social Intercourse — Family Life — Sexual Repugnance — Co-educa-
tion — Its Defects in Theory and in Practice — Homosexuality in
Schools — Social Intercourse in General 53


The Battle of Chastity in the Adult.

Morbidity — Sexual Neurasthenia — Consequences of Sexual Sins —
Celibacy — Fornication — A Sophism and a Truth — Necessity of
Marriage— Christian Doctrine of Indulgcntia— Self-sacrilice —

Regulations in Certain Professions — Personal Religion 62




Neomalthusianism. page

Historical Aspects of the Question — Economic Aspect of — Moral
Aspects of — Analogies of — Methods — Dangers — Principle of
Christian Freedom — Neomalthusianism in New Zealand — Fam-
ily Life 106


Sexual Promiscuity.

A Definition of Impurity — Promiscuity — Biblical Views of Promis-
cuity — Concubinage — Antenuptial Relations 128



General View of the Situation — A Dialogue — The Sacking of a City
— The Victorious Soldiery — The Women in the City — Moral
Grades of Women — The Phenomenon of Prostitution — Its
Place in the Social Sex Process — Women in Defense of their
Honor — The Main Ground of their Defense — Women's Atti-
tude to Marriage and to Prostitution 138

Prostitution and the Social Sex Process.

Comparative Ethics — The Evolutionary Ethical Process — Increasing
Rationality of Collective Sexual Consciousness — Ethical Evolu-
tion of the Masculine Impulse — Transition from Fear to Volun-
tary Self-control — Ethical Evolution of the Feminine Impulse —
Women's Growing Enlightenment on the Ethics of Sex — Self-
control and Sympathy the Fruits of the Evolution of Sexual
Morality 149

Prostitution and Rescue Work.

Treatment of Prostitutes in the Christian Roman Empire — Attitude
of Christian Fathers to Prostitution — Prostitution in Medieval
Europe — Rise of Rescue Work — Attitude of Modern Society
toward Prostitution — Rescue Work on its Negative Side —
Forel's Description of the Fate of Prostitutes — Ideals of



Rescue Work — The Earlier Ascetic Ideal — Its Insufficiency —
The Modern Positive Ideal Scientific Study of the Pros-
titute — The Worker of Mercy at Work — Social Value of the
Rescue Workers— The "White Slave Traffic" 158


Venereal Disease and Legislation.

Statement of the Question — Modern Ethical Thought and Prosti-
tution — The Problem of Reglementation — The Morals Service
— A Policy Outlined — Venereal Diseases and Marriage 171


Further Applications of the Principle of Responsibility.

Suspected Increase of Immorality in Australia — Causes of Increase
— Some Proposed Remedies — Age of Consent — Removal of Dis-
abilities from Illegitimates — Legitimation — Registration in the
Man's Name 191



Various Doctrines of Marriage^Rationale of Sexual Desire — In-
tercourse During Pregnancy— Aversion During Menstruation
— Control of Desire — Frigidity — Mutual Consideration — Hy-
giene — A Paralile Interpreted 202


Spiritualized Sexual Love.

Its History — Its Basis, Significance, and Place in the Economy
of Life 224



Origin and Purpose of Modesty — Biblical Estimates of — Modesty
Among Women — Woman's Right of Marriage — Woman's
Special Sexual Difficulties 232



Divorce. page

Statement of the Question — Christian Ideal of Marriage — Uncer-
tainty of Ecclesiastical Opinion on Divorce — Christ on Divorce
—St. Paul— Attitude of State— Duty of Church in the Matter . . 242


Forbidden Degrees.

Origin of Sexual Repulsion — Attitude of Christianity toward In-
cest — Forbidden Degrees, History of — Matriarchate and Patri-
archate — Ideal Unity in Marriage — Marriage with a Deceased
Wife's Sister Considered 257


The Sexual in Art.

Condemnation of Erotic Art Considered — Classical .\rt — The Nude
— Zola's View — Art and Word-painting — -Indecent Pictures —
Legislation 274


On the Nature and Ethics of Impure Language.

Language and Convention — History of Dirty Words — The Test of

Motive — Horace and Juvenal — St. Paul 280


Sexual Perversions.

Modern Investigation of this Obscure Subject — Causes of Perver-
sions — Sexual Inversion — Proposed Toleration of Homosexual-
ity Considered — Masochism — Sadism — Other Types, Bestiality.
Senile Immorality — Sterilization 284


The Evolution of Sexual Morality.

Evolution of Moral Ideas — Prehuman Stage of Morality — Growth
of Humanity's Sex Knowledge — Variability of Value-judgments



— Sex Morality in the Evolution of the Race and of the Child
— The Religious Factor — Ethical Ideals of the Sex Life in
Civilized Society — Their Germinal Principles in Primitive
Society — Statement of the Ideals — The Manner of their Reali-
zation — Principles of Casuistry — Sex Morality in Relation to
Theology 312


The Metaphysical Basis of Sexual Morality.

Rational Ethics and Religion — Spiritual and Supramundane Origin
of Ethical Religion — Human Cognition of the Transcendent
Ethical Authority — Rights of Criticism in Ethics — True Nature
of Moral Action — Autonomy of the Will — Rational Reception
of the Imperative — Primitive Commands were Negative — Re-
capitulation — The Supreme Ethical Concept of the Sex Life —
The Cognition of Ideas — No Really Self-evident Truths — In-
tuition — The Inheriting and Estimating of Moral Values —
Objectivity of Moral Concepts — Their Perfect Concrete Mani-
festation — The Metaphysic of Ethics Reveals God and Leads
to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ 334


The Virgin Maktyrs.

Virginity in the New Testament — The Virgin Martyrs in Art and
History — Virginity in Pagan Rome — The Christian Persecutions
— The Peril to Virginity — Condemnation of Christian Women
to the Lupanaria — Outraging of Virgins — The Spiritual Per-
manence of Virginity — Changes in the Social Estimate of Vir-
ginity — Survivals of Superstition in that Estimate — Formation
of a Deeper View — The Virgin's Aureole and the Conditions
of its Attainment 347


The Gospel and Sex Relations.

Asceticism and the Gospel— Tolstoy's Estimate— Christ's Attitude
and Teaching— St. Paul— The Christian Ideal of Marriage—
The Atonement and Sexual Sins 3t)3



Additional Note A, on Primitive Marriage 387

Additional Note B, on the Genesis Narrative of the Fall 400

Additional Note C, on the Virgin Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 405

Additional Note D, on Masturbation 420

Additional Note E, on Circumcision 430

Additional Note F, on Nocturnal Pollution 434

Additional Note G, on Patristic and Medieval Attitude to Divorce . 437

Additional Note H, on Polygamy 444

Additional Note I. on Belief in God 453

The Two Fires 456

Epilogue 457

Index of authors cited 459

Index of subjects 467



Ethic of the Sexes — Science of Sex — Literature on Sex Questions
— General Result of Present Inquiry.

In a single sentence of their book, two modern biologists
have given pregnant expression to one of the most imperative
of present-day needs. We need, say they, a new ethic of the
sexes. In spite of the vague and frequently petulant expression
accorded to this need in conversation and in ephemeral litera-
ture, it has a real and general existence, and it is gradually being
met. Such a new ethic is being slowly evolved as the outcome
of the thoughts and labors of many, writing with various mo-
tives and with a greater or less degree of conscientiousness on
the series of problems arising from the physiology and psy-
chology of sex.

The study of sex questions carries the student into many
branches of knowledge, anthropology, biology, medicine, law,
theology, and others. It directs his inquiring gaze toward the
lowest depths as well as toward the most glorious heights of
human development. And here it must be said at once that an
investigation of the dark side of sexuality is inevitable. ^ The
composition of this work on its present scale would have been
impossible without access being had to scientific treatises such
as those of Havelock Ellis and Krafft-Ebing, treatises in which
the sex life can be seen as it is, without disguise ; and humanity
comes before the beholder in many attitudes, good and bad from

1 "For it is not dishonorable to know about ugly things, but by
this means the remedy of them is found, if in a right moral and intel-
lectual disposition one receives what is said about them." Plato, Legg.
635 (paraphrased).



a moral point of view, kneeling in prayer, striving with itself,
disciplining its appetites ; or, on the other hand, lying in unre-
strained voluptuous enjoyment, experiencing or seeking strange
forms of sensuous excitement, raving, raging, bloody, ex-
hausted, — and naked always. Many of the visions in the series
are calculated to try the nerve even of the trained student of
such things ; and the present writer is constrained to admit, for
his own part, that he has shortened his studies on impure and
perverted sexuality as much as possible; that he has confined
his study of human sin — for so it must be called — within the
limits of bare necessity, and has left the detailed investigation
of abnormal conditions to those whose special province it is.
Without contributing at this point anything fresh to the con-
sideration of the moral advantages or disadvantages of a scien-
tific study of sex, the author would merely accept the position
that the sale of works on abnormal sexual conditions should
be as far as possible regulated by law. However, a policy of
wholesale suppression of even this class of work is neither
requisite nor feasible ^

The scientific study of sex does indeed require for its
successful and profitable pursuit not merely the qualities
needed by other sciences, but peculiar moral qualities, tact,
caution, and forbearance in making known results, drawing
inferences, and expressing opinions. The scientist must here,

- The difficulties in the way of the pubhcation of special works on
sexual perversions would be considerably relieved if anthropologists
generally would follow, and where necessary improve on, the example
set by such writers as Krafft-Ebing and Westermarck, and render the
most revolting pieces of necessary evidence into Latin. Here, too,
must be noticed a suggestion which Mr. H. G. Wells has set forth with
his peculiar power, that a minimum price, and that a high one, should
be fixed by law for certain departments of literature dealing with sex
questions, and perhaps for certain classes of erotic art. In spite of
the complicated nature of the problem, an approximately correct de-
marcation of sexual literature and art unsuitable for general use might
conceivably be arrived at, and the output of such productions might
be regulated either in the manner indicated by Wells, or by the issue
of special licenses for such sales.


as elsewhere, amass and consider facts. It is the just ground
of his quarrel with the orthodox moralist that the latter will
not face facts. On the other hand, the scientific inquirer is at
times too ready to look askance at traditional or conventional
ideas of sexual morality, tO' speak impatiently of asceticism,
ecclesiastical influence, and the like. True science will pa-
tiently and carefully estimate the value of these things. It
should not be forgotten that in this field of study the question
whether the thinker's treatment of his subject becomes a dan-

Online LibraryHugh NorthcoteChristianity and sex problems → online text (page 1 of 43)