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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

 

 

It is assumed by many that this state of German morality as it 

exists to-day is a new phenomenon, and the sign of a rapid 

national degeneration. That is by no means the case. In this 

connection we may accept the evidence of Catholic priests, who, 

by the experience of the confessional, are enabled to speak with 

authority. An old Bavarian priest thus writes (_Geschlecht und 

Gesellschaft_, 1907, Bd. ii, Heft I): "At Moral Congresses we 

hear laudation of 'the good old times' when, faith and morality 

prevailed among the people. Whether that is correct is another 

question. As a young priest I heard of as many and as serious 

sins as I now hear of as an old man. The morality of the people 

is not greater nor is it less. The error is the belief that 

immorality goes out of the towns and poisons the country. People 

talk as though the country were a pure Paradise of innocence. I 

will by no means call our country people immoral, but from an 

experience of many years I can say that in sexual respects there 

is no difference between town and country. I have learnt to know 

more than a hundred different parishes, and in the most various 

localities, in the mountain and in the plain, on poor land and on 

rich land. But everywhere I find the same morals and lack of 

morals. There are everywhere the same men, though in the country 

there are often better Christians than in the towns." 

 

If, however, we go much farther back than the memories of a 

living man it seems highly probable that the sexual customs of 

the German people of the present day are not substantially 

different--though it may well be that at different periods 

different circumstances have accentuated them--from what they 

were in the dawn of Teutonic history. This is the opinion of one 

of the profoundest students of Indo-Germanic origins. In his 

_Reallexicon_ (art. "Keuschheit") O. Schrader points out that the 

oft-quoted Tacitus, strictly considered, can only be taken to 

prove that women were chaste after marriage, and that no 

prostitution existed. There can be no doubt, he adds, and the 

earliest historical evidence shows, that women in ancient Germany 

were not chaste before marriage. This fact has been disguised by 

the tendency of the old classic writers to idealize the Northern 

peoples. 

 

Thus we have to realize that the conception of "German virtue," 

which has been rendered so familiar to the world by a long 

succession of German writers, by no means involves any special 

devotion to the virtue of chastity. Tacitus, indeed, in the 

passage more often quoted in Germany than any other passage in 

classic literature, while correctly emphasizing the late puberty 

of the Germans and their brutal punishment of conjugal infidelity 

on the part of the wife, seemed to imply that they were also 

chaste. But we have always to remark that Tacitus wrote as a 

satirizing moralist as well as a historian, and that, as he 

declaimed concerning the virtues of the German barbarians, he had 

one eye on the Roman gallery whose vices he desired to lash. Much 

the same perplexing confusion has been created by Gildas, who, in 

describing the results of the Saxon Conquest of Britain, wrote as 

a preacher as well as a historian, and the same moral purpose (as 

Dill has pointed out) distorts Salvian's picture of the vices of 

fifth century Gaul. (I may add that some of the evidence in favor 

of the sexual freedom involved by early Teutonic faiths and 

customs is brought together in the study of "Sexual Periodicity" 


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