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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

The action of a pseudo-morality, such as our sexual morality has been, is 

double-edged. On the one side it induces a secret and shamefaced laxity, 

on the other it upholds a rigid and uninspiring theoretical code which so 

few can consistently follow that theoretical morality is thereby degraded 

into a more or less empty form. "The human race would gain much," said the 

wise Senancour, "if virtue were made less laborious. The merit would not 

be so great, but what is the use of an elevation which can rarely be 

sustained?"[268] At present, as a more recent moralist, Ellen Key, puts 

it, we only have an immorality which favors vice and makes virtue 

irrealizable, and, as she exclaims with pardonable extravagance, to preach 

a sounder morality to the young, without at the same time condemning the 

society which encourages the prevailing immorality, is "worse than folly, 

it is crime." 

 

It is on the lines along which Senancour a century ago and Ellen Key 

to-day are great pioneers that the new forms of anterior or ideal 

theoretical morality are now moving, in advance, according to the general 

tendency in morals, of traditional morality and even of practice. 

 

There is one great modern movement of a definite kind which will serve to 

show how clearly sexual morality is to-day moving towards a new 

standpoint. This is the changing attitude of the bulk of the community 

towards both State marriage and religious marriage, and the growing 

tendency to disallow State interference with sexual relationships, apart 

from the production of children. 

 

There has no doubt always been a tendency among the masses of the 

population in Europe to dispense with the official sanction of sexual 

relationships until such relationships have been well established and the 

hope of offspring has become justifiable. This tendency has been 

crystallized into recognized customs among numberless rural communities 

little touched either by the disturbing influences of the outside world or 

the controlling influences of theological Christian conceptions. But at 

the present day this tendency is not confined to the more primitive and 

isolated communities of Europe among whom, on the contrary, it has tended 

to die out. It is an unquestionable fact, says Professor Bruno Meyer, that 

far more than the half of sexual intercourse now takes place outside legal 

marriage.[269] It is among the intelligent classes and in prosperous and 

progressive communities that this movement is chiefly marked. We see 

throughout the world the practical common sense of the people shaping 

itself in the direction which has been pioneered by the ideal moralists 

who invariably precede the new growth of practical morality. 

 

The voluntary childless marriages of to-day have served to show the 

possibility of such unions outside legal marriage, and such free unions 

are becoming, as Mrs. Parsons points out, "a progressive substitute for 

marriage."[270] The gradual but steady rise in the age for entering on 

legal marriage also points in the same direction, though it indicates not 

merely an increase of free unions but an increase of all forms of normal 

and abnormal sexuality outside marriage. Thus in England and Wales, in 

1906, only 43 per 1,000 husbands and 146 per 1,000 wives were under age, 

while the average age for husbands was 28.6 years and for wives 26.4 

years. For men the age has gone up some eight months during the past forty 

years, for women more than this. In the large cities, like London, where 

the possibilities of extra-matrimonial relationships are greater, the age 

for legal marriage is higher than in the country. 

 

If we are to regard the age of legal marriage as, on the whole, 


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