Not so long ago, the British Bar Association admitted that the
principal factor responsible for English divorces is sexual incompatibility. The
Association is to be praised for having undertaken an analysis of the
unfortunate and important divorce problem and for having made public its
findings. There is no doubt in the author's mind that similar studies made in
other countries would result in like conclusions; sex is governed and controlled
by a natural and universal law which is common to all individuals, and all
persons are subject to its influence in greater or lesser degree.
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Whether one cares to admit it or not, it is a fundamental and vital force in
preserving the home and family. Its destructive effect upon marriage results
primarily from the fact that proper sexual procedure is taken for granted, that
it is regarded as an uncomplicated phenomenon. This has tended to breed
ignorance injurious to the permanency of marriage and has marred the future
happiness of many women.
If this thesis be accepted, then the vital problem which it poses must be solved
through intelligent, practical, codified, and instructive discussion capable of
being understood and followed by the layman with beneficial results.
The purpose of this book, then, is to concentrate on the subject of sex, to do
it with unprecedented and yet unoffensive frankness that leaves nothing for
imaginative guesswork, and to take up the matter where previous treatments leave
it. Its motives are simple: to enlighten and protect the innocent, further to
educate the experienced, to adjust the sexually incompatible, and to strengthen
the foundation of the home. It emphasizes the problems faced by women only
because they are the principal sufferers of their own and man's sexual
Few mothers possess sufficient experience or a taste for the type of frankness
necessary to impart adequate sexual knowledge to their daughters. Few fathers
are qualified to advise their offspring, because the average man boasts of a far
broader pre-marital sex life than he has actually experienced, and his wild oats
have been sown largely in the fields of his imagination.
It is little to be wondered, then, that with generation following generation,
this situation fails to improve and, if anything, grows considerably worse, as
our increasing divorce rate testifies.
Even assuming that both parents are sufficiently informed, the problem of
educating the child usually remains insurmountable: to impart a complete
knowledge of the subject is a task which grates upon the delicate sensibilities
of the average father and mother. It becomes almost impossible when a widow is
confronted with an adolescent son, or a widower with his growing daughter,
especially when the children are rapidly approaching the age for matrimony.
Many parents will immediately protest the validity of these assertions and will
claim to have educated their children effectively by following the formulas laid
down by competent authority. Such contentions are very seldom reliable, because
parents themselves are usually ill-informed and because it is invariably
impracticable for those occupying a parental relationship to tell the child
everything he or she should know. Such explanations poorly made by parents can
definitely shock the adolescent mind; complete frankness implies a discussion of
the details of personal sex experience which few parents can bring themselves to
undertake even on the eve of a child's marriage.
It must be emphasized here that such intimate revelations by parents may, to a
son or daughter, take on a character of indecency which does not exist when
coming from a third person. Many readers will recall their discomfiture when, as
children, they first fully realized that childbirth was the result of
intercourse between their parents. While admitting that other persons may engage
in such practices, most children reject the thought that their own fathers and
mothers have similarly indulged themselves.
However, this is only the most prominently emphasized phase of the broad cycle
of behavior involved in our physical relationships. Suppose that a child who has
just become aware of his parents' sexual activity were called upon to ponder
over the additional knowledge of the more intimate preliminaries to intercourse.
Such added awareness could result only in absolute incredulity and disgust.
Nevertheless, the child, particularly a daughter, should be acquainted with the
varied forms of perfectly normal sexual outlet to which he or she may be
introduced on the nuptial night. With respect to the girl, a definite knowledge
of normal sexual practices may prevent her from regarding her newly acquired
mate as a loathsome degenerate.
Actually, it is far better for a child to acquire intimate information of this
character from a text, from something with which he or she has a purely
impersonal relationship. Only in this manner can maturing children be brought to
realize that those who indulge in sexual activity are normal human beings
engaging in a perfectly normal function.
This volume is designed, among other objectives, to achieve this purpose. Even
parents with the proper ability and background find that propriety alone will
not allow them to touch upon the vast variety of intimate and vital information
which everyone should have but very few possess. There is, in addition, a
broader field of knowledge which parents must have if they are adequately to
protect their maturing children.
This is not to imply, of course, that parents should ignore the problems and
questions of their children when they come directly for information, or that
they should always be referred to a book dealing with the subject. These matters
in which a child approaches his father or mother are usually not complicated,
are easily disposed of, and do not involve a complete exposure of the adult's
sex life. An individual of normal intelligence can perceive immediately to what
extent he may become involved and whether he will be forced beyond his
limitations. Furthermore, when the adolescent reaches the point where he or she
voluntarily seeks specific information of the parent, it is certain that the
child has already acquired a sufficient background from outside sources to be
ready to absorb a more explicit, accurate, and advanced account of the subject.
These pages contain none of the customary and conventional superficialities and
generalities which have been endlessly repeated and paraphrased. They consider
only perfectly normal people, usual situations, and constant factors. Neither
does this book discuss abnormalities of any kind, either in practice or among
individuals. Such exceptions to natural behavior, although they appear numerous
when taken collectively, are, nevertheless, minor when compared with the
preponderantly normal. The possibility that the average family will be touched
by these exceptions is too remote to be considered, and there is little to be
gained from such a secondary discussion.
Nor is this a tome on biology or physiology, purporting to be a commentary on
sexual problems but instead embodying chapters on the development of the fetus,
pages on inconsequential anatomy, and a comparatively few lines on the vital
aspects of sexual procedure. Only such sketches as are absolutely necessary for
a proper consideration of the matter herein discussed are included, and they are
few in number. It might be emphasized, also, that, regardless of the page length
of any previous worts on the subject of sexology, few, if any, when robbed of
the supporting amount of material entirely irrelevant to the sex act, will
contain a discussion of practical matters—matters in which the layman is chiefly
interested—that compares in size with the pertinent detail and coverage of this
volume. Therein lies its unique value.
This text, then, is to be regarded essentially as an instrument the purpose of
which is to relieve one of the major threats to the stability of the home:
sexual incompatibility. In a world of chaos and in an era in which national and
international integrity have fallen to a low level, there remains only the solid
structure of the home to form the basis for a re-establishment of the ancient
standards of virtue.
Any contribution which may cement the husband-and-wife or father-and-mother
relationship and which will interfere with the constant grinding of the divorce
mill, should be valuable, since a separation of the marital ties encourages
looseness, and looseness leads to a complete breakdown of moral fiber.
Ironically, a dissolution of the marriage vows is too frequently unnecessary,
and an early understanding of the sex problem would eliminate the one
outstanding factor that eventually contributes to a parting of the ways.