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Ten sex talks to girls (14 years and older) online

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excessive flow of blood after the third or fourth day.

Likewise, the menstrual period is not normal if
it last too short a time, or if the loss of blood is
scant, or practically niL Here also the services of
your medical adviser are needed, and delay only
makes a bad situation or condition very much worse.
Painful menstruation is not only abnormal but the



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SEX TALES TO GIRLS 41

only reason for your monthly period being a time
of torture, to be dreaded, is either that you enjoy
being a martyr or prefer this suffering to consulting
a doctor. There may be a few cases, in single girls,
where, seemingly, our remedies fail, but with the
great majority relief or cure follows. So, again I
say to you, do not suffer unless you desire to do so.
The girl who does not menstruate at all after arriv-
ing at the proper age, or who only menstruates at
long intervals, should also consult a doctor because
there may be something anatomically wrong which
can be easily corrected and save her from serious
consequences. Let what I have already said receive
your serious consideration, as well as what I have
still to say on this subject. It is important to you
in the present, and will be so in the future.

What will help to make a girl healthy so that
when she grows up her menstrual periods will be
normal and her later duties as a mother easy of ac-
complishment ? In the first place, every child, male
and female, should be taught a fixed daily habit of
bowel evacuation. It is a most important f imction,
and neglect of it not only causes trouble indirectly in
the genital organs, but disturbs the general health as
well ; therefore its importance is two- fold, for with
poor general health the genital organs must suffer
also. You all like to be clean without ; therefore why
not be clean within? Neglect of external cleanliness



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42 SEX TALKS TO GIKLS

is less harmful than internal uncleanliness, but clean-
liness both within and without is essential to good
health. There is absolutely no need for you to be
constipated because your mother or your sister is or
was, popular belief to the contrary notwithstanding.

Another bad habit among women is the endeavor
to avoid passing their urine as often as they should.
For some mysterious reason, never explained even
when inquired into, they seem to try to see how
many hours they can go without being absolutely
forced to empty their bladders. I am oftentimes
amazed at what my women patients tell me regarding
their ability to retain their urine without apparent
discomfort or annoyance. This is harmful for
several reasons :

An abnormally or over-distended bladder needs
more room in the pelvis than is normally allotted to
it, and in order to obtain this extra space it is very
liable to push the womb out of its place, the latter
organ being the easiest to displace for the benefit of
the bladder. Displacement of the womb from its
normal position is one of the most common causes
of pain at the menstrual period. Moreover this con-
stant distention of the walls of the bladder beyond
their normal limits means that, gradually, the walls
of the bladder will lose their normal strength or
tone, and urinary incontinence or inability to control



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SEX TALKS TO GIRLS 43

the bladder will result, and may be temporary or
become chronic.

Anaemia, which may be due to constipation (as
are many cases in women) or any other cause, is
detrimental to the normal act of menstruation, and
accounts for the sufferings of a great many girls
and women at this time. In our efforts to educate
growing girls toward high collegiate standards we
should carefully consider their physical health and
normal development.

Anything which tends to cause congestion of the
pelvic organs is harmful ; for example, false sexual
excitement SLrousedlby miisic, picttu-es, a touch, by
masturbation Ww(m^ kipt. I call it false sexual
excitement, jM^x^ jjt is not a normally aroused
sexual desire, nor ean it be satisfied or completed by
normal sexual contact, which, of course, can legiti-
mately take place only between husband and wife.

A girl's mode of dress is also a factor in sexual
health. You cannot lace tightly without distorting
and compressing the body and its contained organs.
If you have been brought up to wear no body-tor-
turing, health-wrecking corset at all, you are indeed
most blessed. Unfortimately, just at the time when
they are liable to do most harm — ^that is, at the stage
of development — ^you are induced by or you induce
your fond but foolish mother to put this harness on
you.



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44 SEX TALKS TO GIKLS

Warmth in dress is also essential to the organs
which take part in the menstrual period. These very
dehcate organs are not rendered better able to per-
form their functions by chilling. In fact, not only
does cold retard the performance of their physio-
logical duties, but it is liable to produce conditions
with more than serious consequences.

Another and most important thing which not
only helps to prevent normal menstruation but sub-
sequently the proper performance of duties at the
time of childbirth, and which may even affect the
health of the offspring, is the ciursed institution of
child labor in our industries.

Our civilization is not nearly so high as we
flatter ourselves it is; otherwise our women would
not be permitted to perform the various kinds of
labor in which they are now engaged without regard
to their health and happiness or the well-being of
posterity.

I am still old-fashioned enough to decry the
overworking of women in the business world, and
their plunge into so-called society as it is constituted
to-day, one mad whirl of dancing, mostly of an im-
proper and suggestive kind, flirtations, gambling,
and other supposed pleasures. I hope that at some
day, not too far distant and in time to save our
nation from the fate of ancient Rome, people will
come to their senses, and we will establish a better



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SEX TALKS TO GIRLS 45

order of things, with more protection for women
and children in industry, and a neighborly social
life that means proper pleasure for all, and not moral
and financial ruin, as does society to-day. You will
all be healthier for it because employers, being less
absorbed in money matters, will be more apt to re-
member that women are women, whether in their
own homes or elsewhere, and that if their own
wives and daughters need special consideration at
certain times, so do their female employees. With
fewer social duties, these wives and daughters will
also have time to realize the necessity of taking care
of themselves, and will do so.

When this happy time for all women arrives, the
incomes of many physicians, rest cures, health re-
sorts, and sanitariums will be lessened. In fact the
number of the insane will also be diminished. It is
delightful to look forward to this time, and I hope
we shall live to see such an advance in our civiliza-
tion; a time when each of us will unselfishly seek
the welfare of others because we wish to advance
the cause of humanity and to be the ancestors of a
constantly improving race, a time when the world
will be brighter and better because we have lived in
it.* Let us try to bequeath to those who come after

♦During the menstrual period, and particularly during
the first half of it, rest and quiet are to be sought, and highly
spiced foods or salads containing vinegar, or like sauces, are to
be avoided, as, in fact, all acid or alcoholic liquids or foods.



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46 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

us health, happiness, and contentment, instead of a
legacy of disease, selfishness, and unhappiness.

REVIEW

I. Describe briefly the internal, female sexual organs and

the parts leading to them.

II. What is the great privilege of womanhood and what

is absolutely necessary to its successful accom-
plishment ?

III. Describe the change, mental and physical, from the

" little girl " to the " big girl,'*

IV. Name some of the changes preliminary to menstruation.
V. Why does this appear only after a certain age, and what

is the mother's duty at this time?
VI. How often should the menstrual period occur, and what
should be the normal length of a period?

VII. State different conditions for which a doctor should be

consulted.

VIII. What important daily function should be established to

promote normal menstruation?
IX. Why is retention of the urine harmful?
X. Give three factors opposed to sexual health.



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Ill

In this talk we are going to discuss some of the
bad habits of girls, habits which, if aily of you are
addicted to them, should be corrected.

Let us again speak briefly of constipation,
although we discussed it in our last talk. I told you
that if the rectum be filled up with food debris it
will require more space than is normally allotted
to it in the pelvis, and, therefore, as in the case of
the distended bladder, it will make room for itself
by encroaching on the womb, displacing that organ
to either side or forward. Again, this accumulation
of food debris — i.e., fecal matter, — causes a disten-
tion of the rectum, which, if it become chronic, pro-
duces unpleasant rectal conditions, even the extreme
one of partial or complete loss of rectal control.

The pressure of the fecal matter on the veins of
the rectal mucous membrane impedes the return of
the blood from the lower extremities and lower part
of the body toward the heart, and the resulting
dilation of these veins causes the formation of hem-
orrhoids, or, as you have probably always heard them
called, piles. The invasion of the fecal mass by
germs or bacteria which cause fermentation pro-
motes the formation of foul gases, which not only

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48 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

assist in distending the bowels, but, on being
absorbed into the blood, are carried to all parts of
the body, poisoning the entire system, thereby weak-
ening the normal bodily resistance and vitality, and
causing many sick headaches, vague pains, disturb-
ances of the stomach, painful menstruation, bad
breath, and other unpleasant things.

These poisons, circulating in the blood, destroy
the blood corpuscles themselves, and in this way
bring about an anaemia of a not very mild form.
The blood corpuscles which are not destroyed are
weakened in their capacity as carriers of body novlr-
ishment to the various parts of the body on their way
through the arterial system after they leave the
heart, and as carriers of waste on their way back
to the heart through the veins. So, therefore, in this
way also is the vitality of the entire body lowered,
viz., through lack of proper nourishment for one
thing, and through lack of proper removal of the
waste of the system for another thing.

You can see from all that has been said about
constipation that it is rather a bad thing with which
to be affected. You can and should avoid it, not by
the constant taking of medicine, but by the forma-
tion of a proper habit which requires you to respond
to this demand of nature at a definite time daily, by
proper exercises tending to strengthen the abdom-
inal and intestinal muscles; by the eating of proper



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t
food at regular intervals ; by the eating of ripe fruits
both cooked and raw, and of plenty of fresh vege-
tables properly prepared ; by the drinking of plenty
of water, mostly between meals, and by a general
building up of a run-down body.

I spoke to you a few minutes ago of the germs
of fermentation attacking the fecal mass in the
bowel. I might say, for the benefit of all, that these
germs are present, practically, in all of you ; there-
fore the evil results from their presence will be felt
whenever constipation is present.

I have also been asked how one can form the
very valuable daily habit of a bowel evacuation at a
certain time. Much more easy it is than it seems to
be. First, let me say that there is some dispute as
to the best time for this evacuation, some claiming
that it is just before bedtime, others just after aris-
ing, while still others think that immediately after
breakfast is the best hotq:. I will not burden your
minds with the pros and cons advanced by the vari-
ous adherents of these hours. Personally, I favor
immediately after arising, and then a bath, so that
one feels clean within and without to start the day.

Now, suppose you wish to cure yourself of the
habit of constipation, and to have a daily evacuation
on arising. The way to do it is to go to the toilet
every day at this time with your mind intent on
what you wish to accomplish, and to remain there
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50 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

for five or ten minutes ; do not strain, for this favors
pile formation within and without. Keep this up
for several days. If there be no voluntary result a
small quantity of cascara sagrada mixture may be
taken to assist. You will have to try it for several
days to ascertain just the right time of day to take
this medicine in order to have it act at the desired
time.

After getting the bowels to act at this time with
the aid of medicines, gradually reduce the dosage
until the bowels move without it. Do not use saline
cathartics to move your bowels except on special oc-
casions ; they help to produce anaemia, and most of
you need no help toward this condition. Do not use
so-called lapactic pills, saline laxative waters, or
various constipation pills, tablets, mixtures, etc., as
most of these are not cures for constipation, but
things which, once taken, you must keep on taking to
keep from being constipated. In speaking of the
above, I refer to the taking of them regularly, for, of
course, there are times when the physician himself
will order some of them to relieve certain conditions.
Enemata, or injections, as you call them, are always
to be condemned because they tend to distend the
bowel and, by constant over-distention, to make it
lose its normal elasticity, i.e., its muscular power of
contracting and expanding.

You note I have spent quite a little time on this



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SEX TALKS TO GIRLS 51

subject of clean bowels; and this, in itself, should
convince you of its great importance to you, so far as
your health, comfort, and happiness are concerned.

Now a few more words about the undue reten-
tion of urine in the bladder. We have already
spoken of the detrimental effect of this upon the
normal position of the womb, of its secondary effect
upon the fimctions of the womb, and of the possible
effect of gradual but chronic distention of the blad-
der. This distention may cause acute paralysis of
the bladder, requiring the urine to be drained off
artificially — an unpleasant and somewhat serious
procedure, which, unless done very carefully and
with everything as clean as if for a surgical opera-
tion, may lead to such operation.

The urine, if retained in the bladder an undue
length of time, favors the formation of solid sub-
stances, or stones, composed of the various constit-
uents of the urine. Moreover, when the urine con-
tains, as it may under certain circumstances, an irri-
tating substance, lack of tone in the bladder muscles
permits it to remain there longer than it should, this
causing inflammation of the lining or mucous mem-
brane of the bladder, and prompt treatment by the
physician is necessary to prevent a very serious
condition.

Do not think that I am trying to alarm you by
anything I have already said or by anything I am



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52 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

going to tell you in our talks still to come. I am
simply trying to give you plain, frank, and unvar-
nished truths, in simple language that you can fully
understand, for yotu" guidance in the present and
futtu"e. These truths will be of value to you if you
accept them in the spirit in which they are offered,
and if you will profit by the knowledge imparted.

Cleanliness is the next topic, and likewise a very
important one.

Body cleanliness is an asset toward good health,
and is most essential in the immediate region of the
genital organs, including the breasts. Dirt, or the
residue of perspiration allowed to collect around the
nipples, is liable to cause either internal or external
inflammation and lead to abscess formation. The
same accumulation in the folds imder the breasts is
liable to cause the same results.

Below, in the region of the external genitals, the
same accumulations may be added to residue of
dried urine and, perhaps, discharges from within.
Lack of cleanliness here means chafing, severe, con-
stant, and annoying itching, which, once established,
is hard to cure, bad odor, perhaps infection within
and without, with possible abscess formation.
Where there is no leucorrhoea, or ** whites,'' as many
of you call this disagreeable and unnecessary dis-
charge, or have heard it so called, it will be pro-
duced if any of this debris is carried within, as it



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SEX TALKS TO GIRLS 53

most likely will be — and leucorrhoea is a disagreeable
affection, as many of you already know.

To forestall your later question, I will say here
that it can be cured; the simpler the variety the
easier the cure. But why not avoid having it, as long
as it is preventable? If it be not acquired, you will
not need to go to the expense and trouble of having
it cured.

You all dislike having to undergo an examina-
tion or any treatment of these parts, so try to keep
yourselves well in this particular, and the chances
of escaping the above-mentioned trials are much in-
creased, for this condition is the tuiderlying cause
of many others in this region.

Of course, all legcbrrhjDeas are not the same and,
therefore, this discharge'lFrom within must be care-
fully investigated in order that it may be given
proper treatment. Instead of being a simple catar-
rhal discharge, it may contain pus, or be contami-
nated with the results of a gonorrhoea. As you will
be told later, owing to our present loose standard of
morals for men, a standard which I hope my little
book entitled " Ten Sex Talks to Boys " will help
to correct, many pure, unmarried girls become ob-
jects of suspicion, so far as the nature of a leucor-
rhoea is concerned.

Even during the menstrual period, " cleanliness
is next to godliness," the popular idea to the con-



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54 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

trary notwithstanding. Do I mean by this that you
may have the luxury of a bath and cleanHness during
this time? I most certainly do, for I see no reason
to the contrary. Of course, on the first or second
days and, in some cases, on the third day also, you
must be content with tepid sitz-baths, but after that
there is no reason why a full tub-bath cannot be
taken. Remember, however, that I have not told
you that you may take very hot or very cold baihs,
nor have I told you that you may swim in outdoor
or indoor, fresh or salt water pools. I have merely
stated that you may take a bath in a tub wherein the
water is moderately warm, but you are to stay in it
only long enough to give yourselves a quick washing,
being careful to avoid cfiillin*^ywhen you leave the
bath. Attention to these *detans will permit you to
keep your whole body clean at this time without
danger to your health or interference with the men-
strual function.

Some of my girls have told me that they have
been advised to take a douche after each period, as
well as at other times for certain conditions. I con-
sider this remarkably poor advice to give to a young
woman whose hymen is intact, and if it is ever given
to those of you who belong to the above class, I
advise you most strongly not to follow it. Girls
whose hymens are not intact are regarded with sus-
picion, so far as their virtue is concerned ; and if you



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SEX TALKS TO GIRLS 56

will recall the position of, and the various shapes of
the hymen, as described to you in my first talk, you
can readily imderstand that the use of a douche «dv\cloc
nozzle might injure t his little sentinel of your vir-
ginity or sexual purity, and put you in a position not
much to your liking. You cannot see what you are
doing while you are attempting to insert it, so you can
see just how likely are the chances of your harming
yourselves in this way. If a doctor, for any medical
reason, has to interfere with the hymen in any way,
he usually gives the patient a letter to that effect for
her protection in the future. To a single woman
whose hymen is Intact, a douche should be given only
by some one who understands how to do it without
injury to this little piece of skin, and to some girls a
douche could not be given at all without interfer-
ence with the integrity of the h3ntnen.

In a later talk I will have something to say re-
garding dress. The evil of corset wearing has
already been mentioned in a general way, so far as
tight lacing goes. That, however, is not the only
bad point in corset wearing. Suppose we spend a
little time in discussing some of the others.

By their shape, and by the fact that they can be
worn very tight, corsets retard the muscular devel-
opment of the back and tend to produce round back,
rotary lateral curvature, and weak back, the latter
often accompanied by a great deal of pain and dis-



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66 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

comfort. The deformity so produced causes vari-
ous displacements of the internal organs, and thereby
becomes a factor in the causation of painful, and
even irregular, menstruation.

The development of the abdominal muscles is
also interfered with, thereby favoring constipation,
rupture of the navel later in life, and prolongation
of the time of childbirth in which they play a very
important part ; and the lack of tone in these same
abdominal muscles weakens the support for the
abdominal contents and thereby induces various
menstrual disturbances. With the tight-fitting, and
still more with the tightly-laced corset, the abdomen
and its important contents, the vital organs of life,
are pushed out of place, distorted in shape, and con-
stricted in volume. There may be such a thing as
a sensible corset — I am sure there is — ^but certainly
it is rarely in actual use.

I repeat, however, what I said before, that the
wearing of a corset is imnecessary, foolish, and con-
trary to the laws of health, therefore not conducive
to your welfare and happiness. The wearing of any-
thing tight around the waist or chest is imhealthful.
Remember the women of antiquity who were re-
nowned for their faces and figures, the beauty of
which has been handed down to us through the cen-
turies, and then recall their dresses of loose, flowing
style, and the loose, broad sandals they wore instead



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SEX TALKS TO GIRLS 57

of lU-fitting, high-heeled, narrow, pointed shoes,
several sizes too small, as do some of the girls of
to-day.

My talks were not intended to be on dress-re-
form, so I mention only a few articles of your ap-
parel which are in every-day use and really detri-
mental to your health. Later on, I shall probably
have to mention some other things, when I speak of
immodesty, unintentional perhaps, but immodesty,
nevertheless.

The next bad habit I will mention is one which,
unfortimately, is prevalent in both sexes and alike
harmful to both. When practised by one girl it is
harmful enough, but when practised between girls
it is a most pernicious habit, which should be vigor-
ously fought against.

Right here I want to tell yoti as emphatically as
I can that the sexual relation, even though a normal,
physiological function, is absolutely unnecessary to
the health or well-being of either sex. You will, then,
readily understand that neither illegitimate sexual
relations nor masturbation need ever be indulged in.

Many girls who imagine they feel the need of
sexual gratification are entirely mistaken, and are,
in reality, suffering from certain conditions in or
about the genital organs which, if corrected by their
physicians, would stop the sensations aroused by
these irritating, unhealthy conditions. Again, some



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58 SEX TALKS TO GIRLS

have their sexual passions falsely aroused by the
food they indulge in, by liquor of various kinds, by
so-called " funny " stories or jokes dealing with the
sexual relation, by the company which they keep,
and last, but by no means least, by the pleasures in


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Online LibraryIrving David SteinhardtTen sex talks to girls (14 years and older) → online text (page 3 of 11)