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all that appertains to it is something low and degrading, at the worst a
mere natural necessity, at the best a duty to be accomplished in a direct,
honorable and straight-forward manner. No one seems to have told them that
love is an art, and that to gain real possession of a woman's soul and
body is a task that requires the whole of a man's best skill and insight.
It may well be that when a man learns his lesson too late he is inclined
to turn ferociously on the society that by its conspiracy of
pseudo-morality has done its best to ruin his life, and that of his wife.
In some of these cases husband or wife or both are finally attracted to a
third person, and a divorce enables them to start afresh with better
experience under happier auspices. But as things are at present that is a
sad and serious process, for many impossible. They are happier, as Milton
pointed out, whose trials of love before marriage "have been so many
divorces to teach them experience."
The general ignorance concerning the art of love may be gauged by the fact
that perhaps the question in this matter most frequently asked is the
crude question how often sexual intercourse should take place. That is a
question, indeed, which has occupied the founders of religion, the
law-givers, and the philosophers of mankind, from the earliest times.
Zoroaster said it should be once in every nine days. The laws of Manes
allowed intercourse during fourteen days of the month, but a famous
ancient Hindu physician, Susruta, prescribed it six times a month, except
during the heat of summer when it should be once a month, while other
Hindu authorities say three or four times a month. Solon's requirement of
the citizen that intercourse should take place three times a month fairly
agrees with Zoroaster's. Mohammed, in the Koran, decrees intercourse once
a week. The Jewish Talmud is more discriminating, and distinguishes
between different classes of people; on the vigorous and healthy young
man, not compelled to work hard, once a day is imposed, on the ordinary
working man twice a week, on learned men once a week. Luther considered
twice a week the proper frequency of intercourse.
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