Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

CHAPTER VIII. 

 

THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES. 

 

The Significance of the Venereal Diseases--The History of Syphilis--The 

Problem of Its Origin--The Social Gravity of Syphilis--The Social Dangers 

of Gonorrhoea--The Modern Change in the Methods of Combating 

Venereal Diseases--Causes of the Decay of the System of Police 

Regulation--Necessity of Facing the Facts--The Innocent Victims of 

Venereal Diseases--Diseases Not Crimes--The Principle of Notification--The 

Scandinavian System--Gratuitous Treatment--Punishment for Transmitting 

Venereal Diseases--Sexual Education in Relation to Venereal 

Diseases--Lectures, Etc.--Discussion in Novels and on the Stage--The 

"Disgusting" Not the "Immoral." 

 

 

It may, perhaps, excite surprise that in the preceding discussion of 

prostitution scarcely a word has been said of venereal diseases. In the 

eyes of many people, the question of prostitution is simply the question 

of syphilis. But from the psychological point of view with which we are 

directly concerned, as from the moral point of view with which we cannot 

fail to be indirectly concerned, the question of the diseases which may 

be, and so frequently are, associated with prostitution cannot be placed 

in the first line of significance. The two questions, however intimately 

they may be mingled, are fundamentally distinct. Not only would venereal 

diseases still persist even though prostitution had absolutely ceased, 

but, on the other hand, when we have brought syphilis under the same 

control as we have brought the somewhat analogous disease of leprosy, the 

problem of prostitution would still remain. 

 

Yet, even from the standpoint which we here occupy, it is scarcely 

possible to ignore the question of venereal disease, for the psychological 

and moral aspects of prostitution, and even the whole question of the 

sexual relationships, are, to some extent, affected by the existence of 

the serious diseases which are specially liable to be propagated by sexual 

intercourse. 

 

Fournier, one of the leading authorities on this subject, has well said 

that syphilis, alcoholism, and tuberculosis are the three modern plagues. 

At a much earlier period (1851) Schopenhauer in _Parerga und Paralipomena_ 

had expressed the opinion that the two things which mark modern social 

life, in distinction from that of antiquity, and to the advantage of the 

latter, are the knightly principle of honor and venereal disease; 

together, he added, they have poisoned life, and introduced a hostile and 

even diabolical element into the relations of the sexes, which has 

indirectly affected all other social relationships.[220] It is like a 

merchandise, says Havelburg, of syphilis, which civilization has 

everywhere carried, so that only a very few remote districts of the globe 

(as in Central Africa and Central Brazil) are to-day free from it.[221] 

 

It is undoubtedly true that in the older civilized countries the 

manifestations of syphilis, though still severe and a cause of physical 

deterioration in the individual and the race, are less severe than they 

were even a generation ago.[222] This is partly the result of earlier and 

better treatment, partly, it is possible, the result also of the 

syphilization of the race, some degree of immunity having now become an 

inherited possession, although it must be remembered that an attack of 

syphilis does not necessarily confer immunity from the actual attack of 

the disease even in the same individual. But it must be added that, even 

though it has become less severe, syphilis, in the opinion of many, is 

nevertheless still spreading, even in the chief centres of civilization; 

this has been noted alike in Paris and in London.[223] 


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