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sexes, of ages varying from four or five years to ten or twelve, with
wonderful precocity and truthfulness imitate the conduct of their
elders at fashionable dinners, cannot be too much deprecated. Such
associations of the sexes have a strong tendency to develop prematurely
the distinctive peculiarities of the sexes. This is well evidenced by
the fact that on such occasions one of the most common and popular
entertainments is sham marriages. Parents greatly err in encouraging
or allowing their children to engage in amusements of so dangerous a
character. They are productive of no good, and are almost without
exception productive of positive and serious injury.
Modern modes of life, improper clothing, the forcing system of cramming
in schools, the immodest example of older persons, and especially the
irritating, stimulating articles of diet which are daily set before
children, as well as older people, undoubtedly have a powerful
influence in stimulating the development of the sexual passions. This
subject is again referred to under the heading, "Chastity."
Obscene books and papers, lewd pictures, and evil communications are
telling causes which will be further noticed elsewhere.
Senile Sexuality.--As with childhood, old age is a period in which the
reproductive functions are quiescent unless unnaturally stimulated.
Sexual life begins with puberty, and, in the female, ends at about the
age of forty-five years, the period known as the _menopause_, or _turn
of life_. At this period, according to the plainest indications of
nature, all functional activity should cease. If this law is
disregarded, disease, premature decay, possibly local degenerations,
will be sure to result. Nature cannot be abused with impunity.
The generative power of the male is retained somewhat longer than that
of the female, and by stimulation may be indulged at quite an advanced
age, but only at the expense of shortening life, and running the risk
of sudden death. Says Parise, "One of the most important pieces of
information which a man in years can attain is 'to learn to become old
betimes,' if he wishes to attain old age. Cicero, we are told, was asked
if he still indulged in the pleasures of love. 'Heaven forbid,' replied
he, 'I have forsworn it as I would a savage and a furious master.'"
Some learned physicians place the proper limit of man's functional
activity at fifty years, if he would not render himself guilty of
shortening his days by sensuality. Other reasons for this course will
When the passions have been indulged, and their diminishing vigor
stimulated, a horrid disease, _satyriasis_, not infrequently seizes
upon the imprudent individual, and drives him to the perpetration of
the most loathsome crimes and excesses. Passions cultivated and
encouraged by gratification through life will thus sometimes assert
a total supremacy in old age.
Marriage.--The scope and plan of this work will allow of but the
briefest possible consideration of this subject upon which volumes have
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