Sex, Avoided Subjects Discussed in Plain English
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Pages (PDF): 42
Publication Date: 1922
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A book on sex published in 1922. Very puritan in its message; it contains gems of wisdom such as how male masturbation will lead to epilepsy, and as for girls who indulge..."Girls who have formed vicious habits are apt to indulge in the practice of self-abuse at night when going to bed. If there is cause for suspicion, the bedclothes should be quickly and suddenly thrown off under some pretense".
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THE happiness of all human beings, men and women, depends largely on their rational solution of the sexual problem. Sex and the part it plays in human life cannot be ignored. In the case of animals sex plays a simpler and less complex role. It is a purely natural and instinctive function whose underlying purpose is the perpetuation of the species. It is not complicated by the many incidental phenomena which result, in man's case, from psychologic, economic, moral and religious causes. Climate, social conditions, individual modes of life and work, alcohol, wealth and poverty, and other factors affect sexual activity in human beings.
Sexual love, which is practically unknown to the animals, is a special development of the sex urge in the human soul. The deeper purpose of the sex function in human beings, likewise, is procreation, the reproduction of species.
The average man, woman and child should know the essential sex facts in order to be able to deal with the sex problems of life. Of late years there has been a greater diffusion of such knowledge. To a large extent, however, children and adolescents are still taught to look on all that pertains to sex as something shameful and immodest, something not to be discussed. Sex is an “Avoided Subject.”
This is fundamentally wrong. Sex affects the very root of all human life. Its activities are not obscene, but Nature's own means to certain legitimate ends. The sex functions, when properly controlled and led into the proper channels, are a most essential and legitimate form of physical self-expression. The veil of secrecy with which they are so often shrouded tends to create an altogether false impression regarding them. This discussion of these “Avoided Subjects,” in “Plain English,” is intended to give the salient facts regarding sex in a direct, straightforward manner, bearing in mind the true purpose of normal sex activities.
The more we know of the facts of sex, the right and normal part sex activities play in life, and all that tends to abuse and degrade them, the better able we will be to make sex a factor for happiness in our own lives and that of our descendants. Mankind, for its own general good, must desire that reproduction—the real purpose of every sexual function—occur in such a way as to perpetuate its own best physical and mental qualities.
THE LAW OF PHYSICAL LIFE
It is a universal rule of physical life that every individual being undergoes a development which we know as its individual life and which, so far as its physical substance is concerned, ends with death. Death is the destruction of the greater part of this individual organism which, when death ensues, once more becomes lifeless matter. Only small portions of this matter, the germ cells, continue to live under certain conditions which nature has fixed.
The germ cell—as has been established by the microscope—is the tiny cell which in the lowest living organisms as well as in man himself, forms the unit of physical development. Yet even this tiny cell is already a highly organized and perfected thing. It is composed of the most widely differing elements which, taken together, form the so-called protoplasm or cellular substance. And for all life established in nature the cell remains the constant and unchanging form element. It comprises the cell-protoplasm and a nucleus imbedded in it whose substance is known as the nucleoplasm. The nucleus is the more important of the two and, so to say, governs the life of the cell-protoplasm.
The lower one-celled organisms in nature increase by division, just as do the individual cells of a more highly organized, many-celled order of living beings. And in all cases, though death or destruction of the cells is synonymous with the death or destruction of the living organism, the latter in most cases already has recreated itself by reproduction. We will not go into the very complicated details of the actual process of the growth and division of the protoplasmic cells. It is enough to say that in the case of living creatures provided with more complicated organisms, such as the higher plants, animals and man, the little cell units divide and grow as they do in the case of the lower organisms. The fact is one which shows the intimate inner relationship of all living beings.
THE LADDER OF ORGANIC ASCENT
As we mount the ascending ladder of plant and animal life the unit-cell of the lower organisms is replaced by a great number of individual cells, which have grown together to form a completed whole. In this complete whole the cells, in accordance with the specific purpose for which they are intended, all have a different form and a different chemical composition. Thus it is that in the case of the plants leaves, flowers, buds, bark, branches and stems are formed, and in that of animals skin, intestines, glands, blood, muscles, nerves, brain and the organs of sense. In spite of the complicated nature of numerous organisms we find that many of them still possess the power of reproducing themselves by division or a process of “budding.” In the case of certain plants and animals, cell-groups grow together into a so-called “bud,” which later detaches itself from the parent body and forms a new individual living organism, as in the case of the polyps or the tubers in plant life.
A tree, for instance, may be grown from a graft which has been cut off and planted in the ground. And ants and bees which have not been fecundated are quite capable of laying eggs out of which develop perfect, well-formed descendants. This last process is called parthenogenesis. It is a process, however, which if carried on through several generations, ends in deterioration and degeneracy. In the case of the higher animals, vertebrates and man, such reproduction is an impossibility.
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