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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

At this final point in our discussion of sexual morality we may perhaps be 

able to realize the immensity of the change which has been involved by the 

development in women of moral responsibility. So long as responsibility 

was denied to women, so long as a father or a husband, backed up by the 

community, held himself responsible for a woman's sexual behavior, for 

her "virtue," it was necessary that the whole of sexual morality should 

revolve around the entrance to the vagina. It became absolutely essential 

to the maintenance of morality that all eyes in the community should be 

constantly directed on to that point, and the whole marriage law had to be 

adjusted accordingly. That is no longer possible. When a woman assumes her 

own moral responsibility, in sexual as in other matters, it becomes not 

only intolerable but meaningless for the community to pry into her most 

intimate physiological or spiritual acts. She is herself directly 

responsible to society as soon as she performs a social act, and not 

before. 

 

In relation to the fact of maternity the realization of all that is 

involved in the new moral responsibility of women is especially 

significant. Under a system of morality by which a man is left free to 

accept the responsibility for his sexual acts while a woman is not equally 

free to do the like, a premium is placed on sexual acts which have no end 

in procreation, and a penalty is placed on the acts which lead to 

procreation. The reason is that it is the former class of acts in which 

men find chief gratification; it is the latter class in which women find 

chief gratification. For the tragic part of the old sexual morality in its 

bearing on women was that while it made men alone morally responsible for 

sexual acts in which both a man and a woman took part, women were rendered 

both socially and legally incapable of availing themselves of the fact of 

masculine responsibility unless they had fulfilled conditions which men 

had laid down for them, and yet refrained from imposing upon themselves. 

The act of sexual intercourse, being the sexual act in which men found 

chief pleasure, was under all circumstances an act of little social 

gravity; the act of bringing a child into the world, which is for women 

the most massively gratifying of all sexual acts, was counted a crime 

unless the mother had before fulfilled the conditions demanded by man. 

That was perhaps the most unfortunate and certainly the most unnatural of 

the results of the patriarchal regulation of society. It has never existed 

in any great State where women have possessed some degree of regulative 

power. 

 

It has, of course, been said by abstract theorists that women 

have the matter in their own hands. They must never love a man 

until they have safely locked him up in the legal bonds of 

matrimony. Such an argument is absolutely futile, for it ignores 

the fact that, while love and even monogamy are natural, legal 

marriage is merely an external form, with a very feeble power of 

subjugating natural impulses, except when those impulses are 

weak, and no power at all of subjugating them permanently. 

Civilization involves the growth of foresight, and of 

self-control in both sexes; but it is foolish to attempt to place 

on these fine and ultimate outgrowths of civilization a strain 

which they could never bear. How foolish it is has been shown, 

once and for all, by Lea in his admirable _History of Sacerdotal 

Celibacy_. 

 

Moreover, when we compare the respective aptitudes of men and 

women in this particular region, it must be remembered that men 

possess a greater power of forethought and self-control than 


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