Sex in Relation to Society - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781483198705, 9781483223735

Sex in Relation to Society

1st Edition

Studies in The Psychology of Sex, Vol. 6

Authors: Havelock Ellis
eBook ISBN: 9781483223735
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 1st January 1945
Page Count: 416
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Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume VI: Sex in Relation to Society describes the social attitude and legal opinion toward sex.
This volume is composed of 12 chapters, and starts with a survey on the maternal role in child's early knowledge about sex. The next chapters explore the principles of sex education, nakedness, sexual love, chastity, and sexual abstinence. Other chapters cover sex-related topics including the origin and development of prostitution, sexual morality, marriage, and the so-called ""art of love"". A chapter tackles the issue of acquiring venereal disease due to sexual malpractice and prostitution. The final chapter discusses the link between the art of love and the science of procreation. This book will be of value to psychologists, teachers, parents, and the general readers who are interested the allied fields.

Table of Contents


Chapter I. The Mother and Her Child

The Child's Right to Choose Its Ancestry

How This is Effected

The Mother the Child's Supreme Parent

Motherhood and the Woman Movement

The Immense Importance of Motherhood

Infant Mortality and Its Causes

The Chief Cause in the Mother

The Need of Rest during Pregnancy

Frequency of Premature Birth

The Function of the State

Recent Advance in Puericulture

The Question of Coitus during Pregnancy

The Need of Rest during Lactation

The Mother's Duty to Suckle Her Child

The Economic Question

The Duty of the State

Recent Progress in the Protection of the Mother

The Fallacy of State Nurseries

Chapter II. Sexual Education

Nurture as Necessary as Breed

Precocious Manifestations of the Sexual Impulse

Are They to be Regarded as Normal?

The Sexual Play of Children

The Emotion of Love in Childhood

Are Town Children, More Precocious Sexually than Country Children?

Children's Ideas concerning the Origin of Babies

Need for Beginning the Sexual Education of Children in Early Years

Early Training in Responsibility

Evil of the Old Doctrine of Silence in Matters of Sex

The Evil Magnified When Applied to Girls

The Morbid Influence of Artificial Mystery

Books on Sexual Enlightenment

Nature of the Mother's Task

Sexual Education in the School

The Value of Biology

Sexual Education after Puberty

Preparation for the Onset of Menstruation

The Right Attitude Towards Woman's Sexual Life

Necessity of the Hygiene of Menstruation during Adolescence

Such Hygiene Compatible with the Educational and Social Equality of the Sexes

The Invalidism of Women Mainly Due to Hygienic Neglect

Influence of Physical Training on Women

The Evils of Emotional Suppression

Influence of These Factors of a Woman's Fate in Marriage

The Doctor's Part in Sexual Education

Pubertal Initiation into the Ideal World

The Place of the Religious and Ethical Teacher

The Initiation Rites of Savages into Manhood and Womanhood

The Sexual Influence of Literature

The Sexual Influence of Art

Chapter III. Sexual Education and Nakedness

The Greek Attitude Towards Nakedness

How the Romans Modified that Attitude

The Influence of Christianity

Nakedness in Medieval Times

Evolution of the Horror of Nakedness

Concomitant Change in the Conception of Nakedness


The Romantic Movement

Rise of a New Feeling in Regard to Nakedness

The Hygienic Aspect of Nakedness

How Children may be Accustomed to Nakedness

Nakedness not Inimical to Modesty

The Instinct of Physical Pride

The Value of Nakedness in Education

The Æsthetic Value of Nakedness

The Human Body as One of the Prime Tonics of Life

How Nakedness may be Cultivated

The Moral Value of Nakedness.

Chapter IV. The Valuation of Sexual Love

The Conception of Sexual Love

The Attitude of Medieval Asceticism

St. Bernard and St. Odo of Cluny

The Ascetic Insistence on the Proximity of the Sexual and Excretory Centres

Love as a Sacrament of Nature

The Idea of the Impurity of Sex in Primitive Religions Generally

Theories of the Origin of This Idea

The Anti-Ascetic Element in the Bible and Early Christianity

Clement of Alexandria

St. Augustine's Attitude

The Recognition of the Sacredness of the Body by Tertullian, Rufinus, and Athanasius

The Reformation

The Sexual Instinct regarded as Beastly

The Human Sexual Instinct not Animal-like

Lust and Love

The Definition of Love

Love and Names for Love Unknown in Some Parts of the World

Romantic Love of Late Development in the White Race

The Mystery of Sexual Desire

Whether Love is a Delusion

The Spiritual as Well as the Physical Structure of the World in Part Built up on Sexual Love

The Testimony of Men of Intellect to the Supremacy of Love

Chapter V. The Function of Chastity

Chastity Essential to the Dignity of Love

The Eighteenth Century Revolt Against the Ideal of Chastity

Unnatural Forms of Chastity

The Psychological Basis of Asceticism

Asceticism and Chastity as Savage Virtues

The Significance of Tahiti

Chastity Among Barbarous Peoples

Among the Early Christians

Struggles of the Saints with the Flesh

The Romance of Christian Chastity

Its Decay in Medieval Times

Aucassin et Nicolette and the new Romance of Chaste Love

The Unchastity of the Northern Barbarians

The Penitentials

Influence of the Renaissance and the Reformation

The Revolt Against Virginity as a Virtue

The Modern Conception of Chastity as a Virtue

The Influences that Favour Chastity as a Discipline

The Value of Chastity for the Artist

Potency and Impotence in Popular Estimation

The Definitions of Asceticism and Chastity

Chapter VI. The Problem of Sexual Abstinence

The Influence of Tradition

The Theological Conception of Lust

Tendency of these Influences to Degrade Sexual Morality

Their Result in Creating the Problem of Sexual Abstinence

The Protests Against Sexual Abstinences

Sexual Abstinence and Genius

Sexual Abstinence in Women

The Advocates of Sexual Abstinence

Intermediate Attitude

Unsatisfactory Nature of the Whole Discussion

Criticism of the Conception of Sexual Abstinence

Sexual Abstinence as Compared to Abstinence from Food

No Complete Analogy

The Morality of Sexual Abstinence Entirely Negative

Is it the Physician's Duty to Advise Extra-Conjugal Sexual Intercourse?

The Conclusion Against Such Advice

The Physician as Bound by the Moral Ideas of his Age and as Reformer

Sexual Abstinence and Sexual Hygiene


The Influence of Physical and Mental Exercise

The Inadequacy of Sexual Hygiene in this Field

The Unreal Nature of the Conception of Sexual Abstinence

The Necessity of Replacing it by a More Positive Ideal

Chapter VII. Prostitution

I . The Orgy:

The Religious Origin of the Orgy

The Feast of Fools

Recognition^of the Orgy by the Greeks and Romans

The Orgy Among Savages

The Drama

The Object Subserved by the Orgy

II. The Origin and Development of Prostitution:

The Definition of Prostitution

Prostitution Among Savages

The Conditions under which Professional Prostitution Arises

Sacred Prostitution

The Rite of Mylitta

The Practice of Prostitution to Obtain a Marriage Portion

The Rise of Secular Prostitution in Greece

Prostitution in Rome

The Influence of Christianity on Prostitution

The Effort to Combat Prostitution

The Medieval Brothel

The Appearance of the Courtesan

Veronica Franco

Later Attempts to Eradicate Prostitution

The Regulation of Prostitution

Its Futility becoming Recognized

III. The Causes of Prostitution:

Prostitution as a Part of the Marriage System

The Complex Causation of Prostitution

The Motives Assigned by Prostitutes

IV. The Present Social Attitude Towards Prostitution:

The Decay of the Brothel

The Tendency to the Humanization of Prostitution

The Monetary Aspects of Prostitution

The Geisha

The Hetaira

The Moral Revolt against Prostitution

Squalid Vice Based on Luxurious Virtue

The Ordinary Attitude towards Prostitutes

The Need of Reforming Prostitution

The Need of Reforming Marriage

These Two Needs Closely Correlated

The Dynamic Relationships Involved

Chapter VIII. The Conquest of the Venereal Diseases

The Significance of the Venereal Diseases

The History of Syphilis

The Problem of Its Origin

The Social Gravity of Syphilis

The Social Dangers of Gonorrhoea

The Modern Change in the Methods of Combating Venereal Diseases

Causes of the Decay of the System of Police Regulation

Necessity of Facing the Facts

The Innocent Victims of Venereal Diseases

Diseases not Crimes

The Principle of Notification

The Scandinavian System

Gratuitous Treatment

Punishment for Transmitting Venereal Diseases

Sexual Education in Relation to Venereal Diseases

Chapter IX. Sexual Morality

Prostitution in Relation to Our Marriage System

Marriage and Morality

The Definition of the Term "Morality"

Theoretical Morality

Its Division into Traditional Morality and Ideal Morality

Practical Morality

Practical Morality Based on Custom

The Only Subject of Scientific Ethics

The Reaction between Theoretical and Practical Morality

Sexual Morality in the Past an Application of Economic Morality

The Combined Rigidity and Laxity of this Morality

The Growth of a Specific Sexual Morality and the Evolution of Moral Ideals

Manifestations of Sexual Morality

Disregard of the Forms of Marriage

Trial Marriage

Marriage after Conception of Child

The Status of Woman

The Historical Tendency Favouring Moral Equality of Women with.Men

The Theory of the Matriarchate


Women in Babylonia



The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

The Historical Tendency Favouring Moral Inequality of Woman

The Ambiguous Influence of Christianity

Influence of Teutonic Custom and Feudalism


Woman in England

The Vanishing Subjection of Woman

Inaptitude of the Modern Man to Domineer

The Growth of Moral Responsibility in Women

The Concomitant Development of Economic Independence

Invasion of the Modern Industrial Field by Women

In How Far this is Socially Justifiable

The Sexual Responsibility of Women and Its Consequences

The "Self-Sacrifice" of Women

Society not Concerned with Sexual Relationships

Procreation the Sole Sexual Concern of the State

The Supreme Importance of Maternity

Chapter X. Marriage

The Definition of Marriage

Marriage among Animals

The Predominance of Monogamy

Monogamy a Natural Fact, not Based on Human Law

The Tendency to Place the Form of Marriage above the Fact of Marriage

The History of Marriage

Marriage in Ancient Rome

Germanic Influence on Marriage


The Ring

The Influence of Christianity on Marriage

Origin and Growth of the Sacramental Conception

The Church made Marriage a Public Act

Canon Law

Its Sound Core

Its Development

Its Confusions and Absurdities

Peculiarities of English Marriage Law

Influence of the Reformation on Marriage

The Protestant Conception of Marriage as a Secular Contract

The Puritan Reform of Marriage

Milton as a Pioneer of Marriage Reform

His Views on Divorce

The Backward Position of England in Marriage Reform

Criticism of the English Divorce Law

Traditions of the Canon Law Still Persistent

The Question of Damages for Adultery

Collusion as a Bar to Divorce

Impossibility of Deciding by Statute the Causes for Divorce

Divorce by Mutual Consent

Its Origin and Development

Impeded by the Traditions of Canon Law

Modern Advocates of Divorce by Mutual Consent

The Arguments Against Facility of Divorce

The Interests of the Children

The Protection of Women

The Present Tendency of the Divorce Movement

Marriage not a Contract but a Fact

Legal Disabilities and Disadvantages in the Position of the Husband and the Wife

Only the Non-Essentials of Marriage a Proper Matter for Contract

Contracts of the Person Opposed to Modern Tendencies

The Factor of Moral Responsibility

Marriage as an Ethical Sacrament

Personal Responsibility Involves Freedom

Freedom the Best Guarantee of Stability

False Ideas of Individualism

Modern Tendency of Marriage

With the Birth of a Child Marriage Ceases to be a Private Concern

Every Child must have a Legal Father and Mother

How this can be Effected

The Firm Basis of Monogamy

The Question of Marriage Variations

Such Variations not Inimical to Monogamy

The Flexibility of Marriage holds Variations in Check

Marriage on a Reasonable and Humane Basis

Summary and Conclusion

Chapter XI. The Art of Love

Marriage not only for Procreation

Theologians on the Sacramentum Solationis

Importance of the Art of Love

The Basis of Stability in Marriage and the Conditions for Right Procreation

The Art of Love the Bulwark against Divorce

The Unity of Love and Marriage a Principle of Modern Morality

Christianity and the Art of Love


Sexual Initiation among Primitive Peoples

The Tendency to Spontaneous Development of the Art of Love in Early Life


Sexual Ignorance in Women

The Husband's Place in Sexual Initiation

Sexual Ignorance in Men

The Husband's Education for Marriage

The Ignorance of Husbands

Physical and Mental Results of Unskilful Coitus

Women Understand the Art of Love Better than Men

Ancient and Modern Opinions concerning Frequency of Coitus

Variation in Sexual Capacity

The Sexual Appetite

The Art of Love Based on the Biological Facts of Courtship

The Lover Compared to the Musician

The Proposal as a Part of Courtship

Divination in the Art of Love

The Importance of the Preliminaries in Courtship

The Unskilled Husband as a Cause of the Frigid Wife

The Difficulty of Courtship

The Evils of Incomplete Gratification in Women

Coitus Interruptus

Coitus Reservatus

The Human Method of Coitus

Variations in Coitus

Posture in Coitus

The Best Time for Coitus

The Influence of Coitus in Marriage

The Advantages of Absence in Marriage

The Risks of Absence


The Primitive Function of Jealousy

An Anti-Social Emotion

Jealousy Incompatible with the Progress of Civilization

The possibility of Loving More than One Person at a Time

Platonic Friendship

The Maternal Element in Woman's Love

The Final Development of Conjugal Love

The Problem of Love One of the Greatest of Social Questions

Chapter XII. The Science of Procreation

The Relationship of the Science of Procreation to the Art of Love

Sexual Desire and Sexual Pleasure as Conditions of Conception

Reproduction as Left to Caprice and Lust

The Question of Procreation as a Religious Question

The Creed of Eugenics

Ellen Key and Sir Francis Galton

Our Debt to Posterity

The Problem of Replacing Natural Selection

The Origin and Development of Eugenics

The Acceptance of Eugenical Principles

The Two Channels by which Eugenical Principles become Embodied in Practice

Sexual Responsibility in Women

Compulsory Motherhood and Voluntary Motherhood

Causes of the Degradation of Motherhood

The Control of Conception

Now Practised by the Majority of the Population in Civilized Countries

The Question of "Racial Suicide"

Are Large Families a Stigma of Degeneration?

Procreative Control the Outcome of Natural and Civilized Progress

The Growth of Contraception

The Medical and Hygienic Necessity of Control of Conception

Preventive Methods


How Far Justifiable?

Sterilization as a Method of Contraception

Negative Eugenics and Positive Eugenics

The Question of Certificates for Marriage

The Inadequacy of Eugenics by Act of Parliament

The Quickening of the Social Conscience in regard to Heredity

Limitation to the Endowment of Motherhood

The Conditions Favourable to Procreation


The Question of Artificial Insemination

The Best Age of Procreation

The Question of Early Motherhood

The Best Time for Procreation

The Completion of the Cycle of Life

Index of Subjects


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About the Author

Havelock Ellis

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