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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

 

If marriage were really placed on the basis of a contract, not only would 

that contract be voidable at the will of the two parties concerned, 

without any question of delinquency coming into the question, but those 

parties would at the outset themselves determine the conditions regulating 

the contract. But nothing could be more unlike our actual marriage. The 

two parties are bidden to accept each other as husband and wife; they are 

not invited to make a contract; they are not even told that, little as 

they may know it, they have in fact made a very complicated and elaborate 

contract that was framed on lines laid down, for a large part, thousands 

of years before they were born. Unless they have studied law they are 

totally ignorant, also, that this contract contains clauses which under 

some circumstances may be fatal to either of them. All that happens is 

that a young couple, perhaps little more than children, momentarily dazed 

by emotion, are hurried before the clergyman or the civil registrar of 

marriages, to bind themselves together for life, knowing nothing of the 

world and scarcely more of each other, knowing nothing also of the 

marriage laws, not even perhaps so much as that there are any marriage 

laws, never realizing that--as has been truly said--from the place they 

are entering beneath a garland of flowers there is, on this side of death, 

no exit except through the trapdoor of a sewer.[358] 

 

When a woman marries she gives up the right to her own person. 

Thus, according to the law of England, a man "cannot be guilty of 

a rape upon his lawful wife." Stephen, who, in the first edition 

of his _Digest of Criminal Law_, thought that under some 

circumstances a man might be indicted for rape upon his wife, in 

the last edition withdrew that opinion. A man may rape a 

prostitute, but he cannot rape his wife. Having once given her 

consent to sexual intercourse by the act of marrying a man, she 

has given it forever, whatever new circumstances may arise, and 

he has no need to ask her consent to sexual intercourse, not even 

if he is knowingly suffering at the time from a venereal disease 

(see, e.g., an article on "Sex Bias," _Westminster Review_, 

March, 1888). 

 

The duty of the wife to allow "conjugal rights" to her husband is 

another aspect of her legal subjection to him. Even in the 

nineteenth century a Suffolk lady of good family was imprisoned 

in Ipswich Goal for many years and fed on bread and water, though 

suffering from various diseases, till she died, simply because 

she continued to disregard the decree requiring her to render 

conjugal rights to her husband. This state of things was partly 

reformed by the Matrimonial Causes Bill of 1884, and that bill 

was passed, not to protect women, but men, against punishment for 

refusal to restore conjugal rights. Undoubtedly, the modern 

tendency, although it has progressed very slowly, is against 

applying compulsion to either husband or wife to yield "conjugal 

rights;" and since the Jackson case it is not possible in England 

for a husband to use force in attempting to compel his wife to 

live with him. This tendency is still more marked in the United 

States; thus the Iowa Supreme Court, a few years ago, decided 

that excessive demands for coitus constituted cruelty of a degree 

justifying divorce (J.G. Kiernan, _Alienist and Neurologist_, 

Nov. 1906, p. 466). 

 

The slender tenure of the wife over her person is not confined to 

the sexual sphere, but even extends to her right to life. In 

England, if a wife kills her husband, it was formerly the very 


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