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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

notwithstanding this "corruption," we are told (Burton, _City of 

the Saints_, Appendix IV), the women are "very good neighbors, 

excellent, hard-working, and affectionate wives and mothers." 

 

"The lower social classes, especially peasants," remarks Dr. 

Ehrhard ("Auch Ein Wort zur Ehereform," _Geschlecht und 

Gesellschaft_, Jahrgang I, Heft 10), "know better than we that 

the marriage bed is the foundation of marriage. On that account 

they have retained the primitive custom of trial-marriage which, 

in the Middle Ages, was still practiced even in the best circles. 

It has the further advantage that the marriage is not concluded 

until it has shown itself to be fruitful. Trial-marriage assumes, 

of course, that virginity is not valued beyond its true worth." 

With regard to this point it may be mentioned that in many parts 

of the world a woman is more highly esteemed if she has had 

intercourse before marriage (see, e.g., Potter, op. cit., pp. 163 

et seq.). While virginity is one of the sexual attractions a 

woman may possess, an attraction that is based on a natural 

instinct (see "The Evolution of Modesty," in vol. i of these 

_Studies_), yet an exaggerated attention to virginity can only be 

regarded as a sexual perversion, allied to _paidophilia_, the 

sexual attraction to children. 

 

In very small cooerdinated communities the primitive custom of 

trial-marriage tends to decay when there is a great invasion of 

strangers who have not been brought up to the custom (which seems 

to them indistinguishable from the license of prostitution), and 

who fail to undertake the obligations which trial-marriage 

involves. This is what happened in the case of the so-called 

"island custom" of Portland, which lasted well on into the 

nineteenth century; according to this custom a woman before 

marriage lived with her lover until pregnant and then married 

him; she was always strictly faithful to him while living with 

him, but if no pregnancy occurred the couple might decide that 

they were not meant for each other, and break off relations. The 

result was that for a long period of years no illegitimate 

children were born, and few marriages were childless. But when 

the Portland stone trade was developed, the workmen imported from 

London took advantage of the "island custom," but refused to 

fulfil the obligation of marriage when pregnancy occurred. The 

custom consequently fell into disuse (see, e.g., translator's 

note to Bloch's _Sexual Life of Our Time_, p. 237, and the 

quotation there given from Hutchins, _History and Antiquities of 

Dorset_, vol. ii, p. 820). 

 

It is, however, by no means only in rural districts, but in great 

cities also that marriages are at the outset free unions. Thus in 

Paris Despres stated more than thirty years ago (_La Prostitution 

a Paris_, p. 137) that in an average arrondissement nine out of 

ten legal marriages are the consolidation of a free union; 

though, while that was an average, in a few arrondissements it 

was only three out of ten. Much the same conditions prevail in 

Paris to-day; at least half the marriages, it is stated, are of 

this kind. 

 

In Teutonic lands the custom of free unions is very ancient and 

well-established. Thus in Sweden, Ellen Key states (_Liebe und 

Ehe_, p. 123), the majority of the population begin married life 

in this way. The arrangement is found to be beneficial, and 

"marital fidelity is as great as pre-marital freedom is 


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