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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

from Pepys, who, a couple of centuries earlier, had been equally 

indignant at the absence of music from a wedding, which, he said, 

made it like a coupling of dog and bitch. 

 

A frequent demand of those who insist that marriage must be 

regarded as a contract is marriage contracted for a term of 

years. Marriages could be contracted for a term of five years or 

less in old Japan, and it is said that they were rarely or never 

dissolved at the end of the term. Goethe, in his 

_Wahlverwandtschaften_ (Part I, Ch. X) incidentally introduced a 

proposal for marriages for a term of five years and attached much 

moral significance to the prolongation of the marriage beyond 

that term without external compulsion. (Bloch considers that 

Goethe had probably heard of the Japanese custom, _Sexual Life of 

Our Time_, p. 241.) Professor E.D. Cope ("The Marriage Problem," 

_Open Court_, Nov. 15 and 22, 1888), likewise, in order to remove 

matrimony from the domain of caprice and to permit full and fair 

trial, advocated "a system of civil marriage contracts which 

shall run for a definite time. These contracts should be of the 

same value and effect as the existing marriage contract. The time 

limits should be increased rapidly, so as to prevent women of 

mature years being deprived of support. The first contract ought 

not to run for less than five years, so as to give ample 

opportunity for acquaintance, and for the recovery from temporary 

disagreements." This first contract, Cope held, should be 

terminable at the wish of either party; the second contract, for 

ten or fifteen years, should only be terminable at the wish of 

both parties, and the third should be permanent and indissoluble. 

George Meredith, the distinguished novelist, also, more recently, 

threw out the suggestion that marriages should be contracted for 

a term of years. 

 

It can scarcely be said that marriages for a term of years 

constitute a very satisfactory solution of the difficulties at 

present encountered. They would not commend themselves to young 

lovers, who believe that their love is eternal, nor, so long as 

the union proves satisfactory, is there any need to introduce the 

disturbing idea of a legal termination of the contract. On the 

other hand, if the union proves unhappy, it is not reasonable to 

insist on the continuation for ten or even five years of an empty 

form which corresponds to no real marriage union. Even if 

marriage is placed on the most prosaic contractive basis it is a 

mistake, and indeed an impossibility, to pre-ordain the length of 

its duration. The system of fixing the duration of marriage 

beforehand for a term of years involves exactly the same 

principle as the system of fixing it beforehand for life. It is 

open to the same objection that it is incompatible with any 

vital relationship. As the demand for vital reality and 

effectiveness in social relationships grows, this fact is 

increasingly felt. We see exactly the same change among us in 

regard to the system of inflicting fixed sentences of 

imprisonment on criminals. To send a man to prison for five years 

or for life, without any regard to the unknown problem of the 

vital reaction of imprisonment on the man--a reaction which will 

be different in every individual case--is slowly coming to be 

regarded as an absurdity. 

 

 

 


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