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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

theoretical morality, in so far of course as ideal morality really is 

anterior and not, as so often happens, astray up a blind alley. Posterior 

or traditional morality always follows after practice. The result is that 

while the actual morality, in practice at any time or place, is always 

closely related to theoretical morality, it can never exactly correspond 

to either of its forms. It always fails to catch up with ideal morality; 

it is always outgrowing traditional morality. 

 

It has been necessary at this point to formulate definitely the three 

chief forms in which the word "moral" is used, although under one shape or 

another they cannot but be familiar to the reader. In the discussion of 

prostitution it has indeed been easily possible to follow the usual custom 

of allowing the special sense in which the word was used to be determined 

by the context. But now, when we are, for the moment, directly concerned 

with the specific question of the evolution of sexual morality, it is 

necessary to be more precise in formulating the terms we use. In this 

chapter, except when it is otherwise stated, we are concerned primarily 

with morals proper, with actual conduct as it develops among the masses of 

a community, and only secondarily with anterior morality or with posterior 

morality. 

 

Sexual morality, like all other kinds of morality, is necessarily 

constituted by inherited traditions modified by new adaptations to the 

changing social environment. If the influence of tradition becomes unduly 

pronounced the moral life tends to decay and lose its vital adaptability. 

If adaptability becomes too facile the moral life tends to become unstable 

and to lose authority. It is only by a reasonable synthesis of structure 

and function--of what is called the traditional with what is called the 

ideal--that the moral life can retain its authority without losing its 

reality. Many, even among those who call themselves moralists, have found 

this hard to understand. In a vain desire for an impossible logicality 

they have over-emphasized either the ideal influence on practical morals 

or, still more frequently, the traditional influence, which has appealed 

to them because of the impressive authority its _dicta_ seem to convey. 

The results in the sphere we are here concerned with have often been 

unfortunate, for no social impulse is so rebellious to decayed traditions, 

so volcanically eruptive, as that of sex. 

 

We are accustomed to identify our present marriage system with "morality" 

in the abstract, and for many people, perhaps for most, it is difficult to 

realize that the slow and insensible movement which is always affecting 

social life at the present time, as at every other time, is profoundly 

affecting our sexual morality. A transference of values is constantly 

taking place; what was once the very standard of morality becomes immoral, 

what was once without question immoral becomes a new standard. Such a 

process is almost as bewildering as for the European world two thousand 

years ago was the great struggle between the Roman city and the Christian 

Church, when it became necessary to realize that what Marcus Aurelius, the 

great pattern of morality, had sought to crush as without question 

immoral,[265] was becoming regarded as the supreme standard of morality. 

The classic world considered love and pity and self-sacrifice as little 

better than weakness and sometimes worse; the Christian world not only 

regarded them as moralities but incarnated them in a god. Our sexual 

morality has likewise disregarded natural human emotions, and is incapable 

of understanding those who declare that to retain unduly traditional laws 


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