Originally reproduction is a part of the function of all protoplasm;
and in the primitive life-forms an individual becomes two by the "simple
process" of dividing itself into halves. Had this method continued into the higher
forms most of the trouble as well as most of the pleasure of human existence would never
occur. Or had the hermaphrodite method of combining two sexes in the one individual, so
frequent in the plant world, found its way into the higher animals, the moral struggles of
man would have become simplified into that resulting from his, struggles with similar
creatures. Literature would not flourish, the drama would never have been heard of,
dancing and singing would not need the attention of the uplifter, dress would be a method
of keeping warm, and life would be sane enough but without the delicious joys of sex-love.
Why are there two sexes? I must refer the reader to the specialists in this matter,
but can assure him that no one knows. With the rise of Mandel's theory of heredity, it has
been assumed that such a scheme offers a wider variety of possible character combinations.
At present it is safe to say that no one can give a valid reason for the existence of male
and female, and that while this elaboration of the reproducing individual into two parts
may be necessary for some purpose, at first glance it appears like an interesting but
 See Lloyd Morgan's book on sex.
I refer the reader to textbooks in anatomy and embryology, and to the specialists on
sex like Krafft-Ebbing, Havelock Ellis and Ploss for details as to the differences between
man and woman. There are first the essential organs of generation, differing in the two
sexes, the ovary furnishing the egg, the testes furnishing the seed or sperm; then the
organs of sexual contact; the secondary sex characteristics, such as stature, distribution
of hair, deposits of fat, shape of body and especially of the pelvis, the voice,
smoothness of skin, muscular development, etc. There is an orderly evolution in the
development of sex characters which starts with earliest embryo life and goes on regularly
until puberty, when there is an extraordinary development of latent characters and
peculiarities. After puberty maturity is reached by easy stages, and then comes involution
or the recession of sex characters. This is reached in woman rather suddenly and in man
more gradually. The completely differentiated man differs from his completely
differentiated mate in the texture of his hair, skin, nails; in the width and mobility of
pupils, in the color of his sclera, etc., as well as in the more essential sex organs.
Indeed there are very essential bodily differences that are obviously important though
not well understood. One is that the bodily temperature of man is slightly higher than
that of woman, and that he has five million red blood corpuscles to every cubic millimeter
of his blood, while she has four and a half million; that his brain weighs considerably
more but is not heavier proportionately; that her bodily proportions resemble those of the
child-form more than do his, which some interpret as a point of superiority for her,
while others interpret it as a sign of inferiority. On the whole, the authorities consider
that man is made for the discharge of energy at a high rate for a short time, he is the
katabolic element, while woman stores up energy for her children and represents the
anabolic element of the race.
 See Havelock Ellis.
As a corollary to the above, it is necessary to know that each human being (and also
each higher animal) starts out with the potential sex organs of both sexes, and that each
individual becomes sexually differentiated at about the eleventh week of intra-uterine
life. Moreover every male has female organs, and every female has male organs, though in
the normal conditions these are mere vestiges and play no part in the sex life of the
person. Yet this indicates that the separation of male and female is not absolute, and
logically and actually a male may have female characters, physically and mentally, and
vice versa a female may resemble the male in structure and character.
The sex relations have in the racial sense reproduction as their object, but it is wise
to remember that in the whole living world only man knows this, and he has known it for
only a relatively short time. Furthermore, in youth, when the sexual life is at its
intensest, this fact, though known, is not really realized, and in the individual's plans
and desires parenthood figures only incidentally, if at all. Society, in its organization,
places its emphasis on child-bearing, and so indirectly reproduction becomes a great
social aim rather than an individual purpose.
1. The feeling of parenthood is, as every one knows, far stronger in woman than in man.
But here again generalizations are of no use to us, since there are women who develop only
a weak maternal feeling, while there are men whose intensity of response to children is
almost as great as any woman's. Undoubtedly occupation in other than the traditional
woman's field is weakening the maternal feeling or is at least competing with it in a way
that divides the modern mother's emotions and purposes and is largely responsible for her
restless nervousness. This I think may safely be stated: that industry, athleticism,
education, late marriage, etc., are not making for better physical motherhood. On the
contrary, the modern woman has a harder time in bearing her children, and worst of all she
is showing either a reluctance or an inability to nurse them. Small families are becoming
the rule, especially among the better to do. On the other hand, the history of the home is
the gradual domestication of the man, his greater devotion to the children and to his
wife. The increase in divorce has its roots in social issues too big to be discussed with
profit here, but perhaps the principal item is the emancipation of woman who is now freer
to decline unsatisfactory relations with her mate.
 "The Nervous Housewife."
2. The sex passion, as a direct feeling, is undoubtedly stronger in the male, as it is
biologically necessary it should be, since upon him devolves the active part in the sex
relationship. The sexologists point out two types of sex feeling, one of which is
supposed to be typically male, the other typically female.
 See Havelock Ellis, Krafft-Ebbing, Freud.
The male feeling is called sadism, after an infamous nobleman who wrote on the subject.
It is a delight in power, especially in cruelty, and shows itself in a desire for the
subjection of the female. In its pathological forms it substitutes cruelty for the sexual
relation, and we have thus the horrible Jack the Rippers, etc. The Freudians go to the
extreme of seeing in all love of power a sadism, but the truth is that the sadistic
impulse is the love of power, cruelly or roughly expressed in sex. The cave man of the
stories is a sadist of a type, and one generally approved of, at least in theory. A little
of sadism is shown in the delight in pinching and biting so often seen; and the expression
"I'd like to eat you up" has a playful sadism in it.
The opposite of sadism is masochism. This is a delight in being roughly used, in being
the victim of aggression. The typical female is supposed to rejoice in the power and
strength of the male as exerted on her. The admiration women often give to the uncouthly
strong, their praise of virility, is masochistic in its origin. The desire of the peasant
woman to be beaten as a mark of man's love is supposed to be masochistic, a pleasure in
pain, which is held to be a primitive female reaction.
Sex psychopathology discloses innumerable cases where extreme sadism and masochism
exist in both sexes; that is, not only males but females are sadistic, and so not only
females but males are masochistic. Undoubtedly in minor degree both qualities express
themselves in male and female; undoubtedly the male is more frequently a sadist than is
the female. Though the majority of women may thrill in the strength and power of the
lover, there are relatively few American women who will tolerate real roughness or
cruelty. As a matter of fact the basic feelings in sex love, aside from the sexual urge
itself, are tenderness and admiration. Naturally men desire to protect, and this becomes
part of their tenderness; they admire and love the beauty of women and are attracted by
the essential (or supposed essential) feminine qualities. And as naturally women desire to
be protected; this enhances their tenderness, and their admiration is elicited by the
peculiar male characters of strength, hardihood and aggressiveness, as well as by beauty
and human qualities generally. Though the love of conquest is a part of sex feeling, it is
neither male nor female, but is that feeling of superiority and power so longed for in all
relations. Men like to conquer the proud, reserved, haughty woman because she piques them,
and women often set out to "win" the reserved "woman hater" for the
same reason. Thus tenderness and sex passion, with sadism and masochism in lesser degree,
are basic in sex feeling, but other qualities enter so largely that any complete analysis
is almost impossible. The belief, engendered by romance and teaching, that happiness lies
in love, spurs youth on. Admiration for achievement, love of beauty, desire for the social
standing that winning some one gives, desire for home and perhaps even for children are
some of the factors of love.
Sex passion varies enormously in people. In some men it is an almost constant desire,
obsessive, and is relatively uncritical and unchoosing. Occasionally, though much more
rarely, the same condition is found in women. Such abnormal individuals are almost certain
of social disaster, and when married their conduct usually leads to divorce or desertion.
Then there is a wide range of types down to the almost sexless persons, the frigid, who
are much more commonly found among women than men. In fact, with many women active sex
desire may never occur, and for others it is a rarity, while still others find themselves
definitely desirous only after pregnancy. Not only are women less passionate, but their
desire is more "finicky," more in need of appropriate circumstances, the proper
setting and the chosen mate than with man. In other words, sex desire is more physical and
urgent in the man and more psychical and selective in the woman.
 Some claim that the "frigid" woman is such because her mate is ignorant
of the art of love. This is true of some frigid women. Instruction to men and women about
to be married on the technique of sexual life might well take a fine place in the
curriculum of life.
A curious by-product of the sexual feeling is fetichism. To do it justice, fetichism is
found in all feeling toward others, but is most developed in sex relation. The fetich is a
symbol of the desired person, thus the handkerchief and glove of the woman or the hat of
the man. Pathologically any part of the dress--the shoe or the undergarments--may become
so closely associated with sexual feeling as to evoke it indiscriminately or even to
displace it. Normal fetich formation may become a bit foolish and sentimental but never
becomes a predominant factor in sex relationship.
The history of modesty is the history of the sex taboo. As pointed out, the sex
feelings are the most restricted of any of the instincts. I despair of giving an adequate
summary of this, but it may be best stated by declaring that all the restrictions we hold
as imperative have, at one time or another in some place, been regarded as sacred and
desirable. Brother and sister marriages were favored by Egyptian royalty, prostitution was
a rite in Phoenician worship, phallic worship frankly held as a symbol that which to-day
we hold profane (in a silly way), plural marriage was and is countenanced in a large part
of the world to-day, marriage for love is held as foolish in most countries, even now. The
practice of child restriction now prevalent in Europe and America would be looked at with
horror in those countries where children of ten or eleven are allowed to marry. Exogamy,
endogamy, monogamy, polygamy,--all these are customs and taboos, and though in our day and
country monogamy has the social and religious sanction, there is nothing to indicate that
this is a permanent resting place for marriage. Certainly the statistics of divorce
indicate a change in the permanent status of marriage.
What this is meant to emphasize is the social nature of sexual modesty. Modesty of
other kind rests either on a moderate self-valuation or a desire to avoid offense by not
emphasizing one's own value, or it is both. However sexual modesty originated, practically
it consists in the concealing of certain parts of the body, avoiding certain topics of
conversation, especially in the presence of the other sex, and behaving in such fashion as
to restrict sexual demonstration. There is a natural coyness in women which has been
socially emphasized by restrictions in dress, conduct and speech to a ridiculous degree.
Thus it was immodest in our civilization for women to show their legs, and the leg became
the symbol of the femaleness of the woman or girl, as also did the breast. The body
became taboo, and at present, when women are commencing to dress so that the legs are
shown, the arms are bare, and the back and shoulders visible, the cry of immodesty,
immorality and social demoralization is raised, as if real morality rested in these
ridiculous, barbaric taboos.
 All the anthropologists, Tyler, McLennan, Ellis and especially Frazier, deal at
length with this fascinating subject. The psychopathologists relate the most extraordinary
stories of fetich love.
But no matter how much one emphasizes the arbitrary nature of modesty, of the
restrictions placed on dress, speech and conduct, it still remains true that their
function is at present to act as inhibitors. Ridiculous as it is to believe that morality
resides in the length of the skirt or in the degree of paint and powder on the face, the
fact is that usually they who depart too widely from the conventional in these matters are
uninhibited and are as apt to depart from the conventional in deed as they are in
deportment. There are those who say that we would be far more moral if we went about
naked; that clothes suggest more than nakedness reveals. This is true of some kinds of
clothes--the half nakedness of the stage or the ballroom, or the coquettish additions to
clothes represented by the dangling tassels --but it is not true of the riding breeches,
or the trim sport clothes, or the walking suit. The dress of men, though ugly, is useful,
convenient and modest, and there is no doubt that a generation of free women, determined
to become human in appearance, could evolve a modest and yet decorative costume. All of
the present-day extravagance in female attire, with its ever-changing fashion, is a medley
of commercial intrigues, female competition and sex excitement. Though the modesty
restrictions are absurd, the motive that obscurely prompts it is not, and the
transgressors either seek notice in a risky way, are foolish, to speak bluntly, or else
are inviting actual sexual advances.
Though we may actually restrict the sex life so that some men and women become pure in
the accepted sense, it will always be true that men and women will be vaguely or
definitely attracted to each other. Like the atmospheric pressure which though fifteen
pounds to the square inch at the sea level is not felt, so there exists a sex pressure,
excited by men and women in each other. There is a smoldering excitement always ready to
leap into flame whenever the young and attractive of the sexes meet. The conventions of
modesty tend to restrict the excitement, to neutralize the sex pressure, but they may be
swept aside by immodesty and the suggestive. The explanation of the anger and condemnation
felt by the moral man in the presence of the "brazen" woman lies in the threat
to his purposes of respectability and faithfulness; he is angered that this creature can
arouse a conflict in him. The bitterness of the "saint" against the wanton
originates in the ease with which she tempts him, and his natural conclusion is that the
fault lies with her and not with his own passions. The respectable woman inveigles against
her more untrammeled sister, not so much through her concern for morality, as through the
anger felt against an unscrupulous competitor who is breaking the rules.
In so far as women are concerned, the sex pressure on them is increased in many ways.
For two years I examined, mentally, the girls who were listed as sex offenders by the
various social agencies of Boston. As a result of that experience, plus that of a
physician and citizen of the world, a few facts of importance stand out in my mind.
1. There is a group of men whom one may call sex adventurers. These are not all of one
kind in education, social status and age, but they seek sex experiences wherever they go
and are always alert for signs that indicate a chance to become intimate. They take
advantage of the widespread tendency to flirt and haunt the places where the young girls
tend to parade up and down (certain streets in every large city), the public dance halls,
the skating resorts, the crowded public beaches, etc. They regard themselves as
connoisseurs in women and think they know when a girl is "ripe"; they are ready
to spend money and utilize flattery, gifts and bold wooing, according to their nature and
the way they size up their prey.
2. The female sex adventurer is not so common, except in the higher criminal classes
where the effort to ensnare rich men calls forth the abilities of certain women. In a
limited way the prostitute, professed or clandestine, is a sex adventurer, but ordinarily
she is merely supplying a demand and has only to exert herself physically, rarely needing
to conquer men's inhibitions. We omit here the schemes of conquest of girls and women
seeking marriage as too complex for any one but a novelist, and also because the moral
code regards them as legitimate. Women who are ready to accept sexual advances are common
enough in the uninhibited girl, the dissatisfied married woman, the young widow, the drug
habitue; but aside from the woman who has capitalized her sex, the sex adventurer is
What attracts him? For he rarely pesters the good woman, and ordinarily the average
woman is not solicited.
The girl usually "picked up" dresses immodestly or in the extreme of style,
even though she is essentially shabby and poorly clad. To-day business sees to it that
fripperies are within the reach of every purse.
She usually corresponds to a type of prettiness favored in the community, often what is
nowadays called the chicken type. Plump legs and fairly prominent bosom and hips are
symbols of those desired among all grades of men, together with a pretty face. The homely
girl finds it much easier to walk unmolested.
If she appears intelligent and firm, the above qualities will only entitle her to
glances, respectful and otherwise. The sex adventurer hates to be rebuffed, and he is not
desperately in love, so that he will not risk his vanity. If she appears of that port
vivacious type just above the moron level--in other words if she is neither bright nor
really feeble-minded--then sex pressure is increased. The feeble-minded girl of the moron
type, or the over-innocent and unenlightened girl, is always in danger.
There is further the sexually excited or the uninhibited girl. We must differentiate
between those who attempt no control, and those whose surge of desire is beyond the normal
limits. The uninhibited of both sexes are a large group, and the bulk of the prostitutes
are deficient in this respect rather than in intelligence. Sometimes inhibition arrives
late, after sexual immorality has commenced. In men this is common, but unfortunately for
women, society stands in their way when this occurs with them. "Youth must have its
fling" is a masculine privilege denied to feminine offenders.
The desire for a good time plays havoc with the uninhibited girl. Unable to find
interest in her work, which too often is uninteresting, desiring good clothes and
excitement, she discovers that these are within her reach if she follows her instincts.
What starts out as a flirtation ends in social disaster, and a girl finds out that some
men who give good times expect to be paid for them.
Since our study is not a pathological treatise, we must omit further consideration of
the offender and dismiss without more comment the whole range of the perverter. It
suffices to say that the perverted are often such congenitally, in which case nothing can
be done for them, and others are the results of certain environments, which range all the
way from girls' boarding-schools to the palaces of kings.
In ancient times, and in many countries to-day, certain perversions were so common as
to defy belief, and we are compelled to associate with some of the greatest names,
practices that shock us. These same ancients would denounce as unnatural in as hearty
terms the increasing practices of child-limitation among us.
 I pass over as out of the range of this book the question raised by Freud, whether
or not we are all of us homosexual as well as heterosexual.
The sex desires and instincts struggle with, overcome or harmonize with the social
instincts. It would be impossible to portray even the simplest sex life from the mental
standpoint. The chastest woman who is unconscious of sex desire is motivated by romance
and the sex feelings and customs of others in her ideas of happiness and right behavior.
The cynical profligate, indulging every sensual urge, in so far as he can, must guide
himself by the resistance of society, by the necessity of camouflage, the fear of public
opinion and often the impediment of his own early training. Men and women start out
perhaps as romantic idealists, enter marriage, and in the course of their experiences
become almost frankly sensual. And in the opposite direction, men and women wildly
passionate in youth develop counter tendencies that swing them into restraint and serene
self-control. There are those to whom sex is mere appetite, to be indulged and put out of
the way, so as not to interfere with the great purposes of success; there are those to
whom it is a religion, carried on with ceremonials and rites; there are those to whom it
is an obsession, and their minds are in a sexual stew at all times. There are the
under-inhibited, spoken of above, and there are the over-inhibited, Puritanical, rebelling
at the flesh as such, disguising all their emotions, reluctant to admit their humanness
and the validity of pleasure.
The romantic ideal, glorifying a sort of asexual love of perfect men and women,
asceticism which permits sex only as a sort of necessary evil and sensuality which
proclaims the pleasure of sex as the only joy and scoffs at inhibition influence the lives
of us all. The effect of the forbidden, the tantalizing curiosity aroused and the longing
to rise above the level of lust make the sex adjustment the most difficult of all and
produce the queerest results. Sex is a road to power and to failure, a road to health and
sickness. As in all adjustments, there are some who are conscious of but few difficulties,
who are moral or immoral without struggle or discontent. Contrasted with these are the
ones who find morality a great burden, and those who, yielding to desire, find continuous
inner conflict and dissatisfaction and lowered self-valuation as a result.
Our society is organized on chastity and continence prior to marriage, purity and
constancy after marriage. That noble ideal has never been realized; the stories of Pagan
times, of the Middle Ages and of the present day, as well as everyday human experience,
show that the male certainly has not lived up to his part of the bargain. Legalized
prostitution in most countries, illegal prostitution in the United States and England, in
addition to the enormous amount of clandestine relationships, are a sufficient commentary
on the results. The increasing divorce rate, the feminist movement, the legalizing of the
"illegitimate" child in Norway and Sweden and the almost certain arrival of
similar laws in all countries indicate a softer attitude toward sex restrictions. The
rapidly increasing age of marriage means simply that continence will be more and more
difficult, for I am not one of those who believe that the repression of this vital
instinct is without harm. Continence is socially necessary, but beyond a certain age it is
physically and mentally harmful. Man is thus placed on the horns of a dilemma from which
it will take the greatest wisdom and the finest humanity to extricate him. But I cannot
lay claim to any part of the knowledge and ability necessary to formulate the plan. Let us
at least be candid; let us not say grandiloquently that the sexual urge can be
indefinitely repressed without harm to the average individual. We may safely assert that
there are people, men and women both, to whom the sex impulses are vague and of little
force, but to the great majority, at least of men, sex desire is almost a hunger, and
unsatisfied it brings about a restlessness and dissatisfaction that enters into all the
mental life. On what basis society will meet this situation I do not pretend to know, but
this is certain,--that all over the civilized world there is apparent an organizing
rebellion against the social impediment to sexual satisfaction.
For it must be remembered that sexual satisfaction is not alone naked desire. It is
that--but sublimated into finer things as well. It is the desire for stability of
affection, for a sympathetic beloved, an outlet for emotion, a longing for respectable
unitary status. The unit of respectable human life is the married couple; the girl wants
that social recognition, and so does her man. Both yearn to cast off from their old homes
and start a new one, as an initial step in successful living. The thought of children--a
little form in a little bed, and the man and woman gazing in an ecstasy of pride and
affection upon it--makes all other pleasures seem unworthy and gives to the ache for
intimacy a high moral sanction.
This brings us to the point where we must consider those characteristics that make up
domesticity and homekeeping. Early impressions and the consistent teaching of literature,
stage, press and religion have given to the home a semi-sacred character, which is one of
the great components of the desire to marry, especially for women. The home is, in the
minds of most of those who enter into marriage, a place owned, peculiarly possessed, and
it offers freedom from the restraints of society and the inhibitions of ceremony and
custom. Both the man and woman like to think that here is the place where their love can
find free expression, where she will care for him and he will provide for her, and where
their children can grow in beauty, intelligence and moral worth under their guidance. But
this is only the sentimental side of their thought, the part they give freest expression
to because it is most respectable and "nice." In the background of their minds
is the desire for ownership, the wish to say, "This is mine and here I rule."
Into that comes the ideal that the stability of society is involved and the homekeeper is
its most important citizen, but when we study the real evolution of the home, study the
laws pertaining to the family, we find that the husband and father had a little kingdom
with wife and children as subjects, and that only gradually has there come from that
monarchical idea the more democratic conception cherished to-day.
Men and women may be considered as domestic or non-domestic. The domestic type of man
is ordinarily "steady" in purpose and absorbed more in work than in the seeking
of pleasure, is either strongly inhibited sexually or else rather easily satisfied;
cherishes the ideal of respectability highly; is conventional and habituated, usually has
a strong property feeling and is apt to have a decided paternal feeling. He may of course
be seclusive and apt to feel the constraints of contact with others as wearying and
unsatisfactory; he is not easily bored or made restless. All this is a broad sketch; even
the most domestic find in the home a certain amount of tyranny and monotony; they yearn
now and then for adventure and new romance and think of the freedom of their bachelor days
with regret over their passing. They may decide that married home life is best, but the
choice is not without difficulty and is accompanied by an irrepressible, though hidden
dissatisfaction. On the whole, however, the domestic man finds the home a haven of relief
and a source of pleasurable feeling.
The non-domestic man may be of a dozen types. Perhaps he is incurably romantic and
hates the thought of settling down and putting away for good the search for the perfect
woman. Perhaps he is uninhibted sexually or over-excitable in this respect, and is
therefore restless and unfaithful. He may be bored by monotony, a restless seeker of new
experiences and new work, possessed by the devils of wanderlust. He may be an egoist
incapable of the continuous self-sacrifice and self-abnegation demanded by the
home,--quarrelsome and selfish. Sometimes he is wedded to an ideal of achievement or work
and believes that he travels best who travels alone. Often in these days of late marriage
he has waited until he could "afford" to marry and then finds that his habits
chain him to single life. Or he may be an unconventional non-believer in the home and
marriage, though these are really rare. The drinker, the roue, the wanderer, the selfish,
the nonconventional, the soarer, the restless, the inefficient and the misogynist all make
poor husbands and fathers and find the home a burden too crippling to be borne.
One of the outstanding figures of the past is the domestic woman, yearning for a home,
assiduously and constantly devoted to it, her husband and her numerous children. Fancy
likes to linger on this old-fashioned housewife, arising in the early morning and from
that time until her bedtime content to bake, cook, wash, dust, clean, sew, nurse and
teach; imagining no other career possible or proper for her sex; leading a life of self-
sacrifice, toil and devotion. Poet, novelist, artist, and clergyman have immortalized her,
and men for the most part cherish this type as their mother and dream of it as the ideal
Perhaps (and probably) this woman rebelled in her heart against her drudgery and
dreamed of better things; perhaps she regretted the quickly past youth and dreaded the
frequent child-bearing. Whether she did or not, the appearance of a strongly non-domestic
type is part of the history of the latter nineteenth century and the early twentieth.
The non-domestic women are, like their male prototypes, of many kinds, and it would be
idle to enumerate them. There is the kind of woman that "has a career," using
this term neither sarcastically nor flatteringly. The successful artist of whatever
sort--painter, musician, actress--has usually been quite spoiled for domesticity by the
reward of money and adulation given her. Nowhere is the lack of proportion of our society
so well demonstrated as in the hysterical praise given to this kind of woman, and
naturally she cannot consent to the subordination and seclusion of the home. Then there is
the young business woman, efficient, independent, proud of her place in the bustle and
stir of trade. She is quite willing to marry and often makes an admirable mother and wife,
but sometimes she finds the menial character of housework, its monotony and dependence too
much for her. The feminist aglow with equality and imbued with too vivid a feeling of sex
antagonism may marry and bear children, but she rarely becomes a fireside companion of the
type the average man idealizes. Then the vain, the frivolous, the sexually
uncontrolled,--these too make poor choice for him who has set his heart on a wife who will
cook his meals, darn his stockings and care for the children. To be non-domestic is a
privilege or a right we cannot deny to women, nor is there condemnation in the term,--it
is merely a summary characterization.
Though to remain single is to be freer than to be married and domestic, yet the race
will always have far more domestic characters. These alone will bear children, and from
them the racial characters will flow rather than from the exceptional and deviate types,
unless the home disappears in the form of some other method of raising children. After
all, the home is a costly, inefficient method of family life unless it has advantages for
childhood. This it decidedly has, though we have bad homes aplenty and foolish ones
galore. Yet there is for the child a care, and more important, an immersion in love and
tender feeling, possible in no other way. We should lose the sacred principles of
motherhood and fatherhood, the only example of consistent and unrewarded love, if the home
disappeared. The only real altruism of any continuous and widespread type is there found.
It is the promise and the possibility of our race that we see in the living parents. We
know that unselfishness exists when we think of them, and the idealist who dreams of a
world set free from greed and struggle merely enlarges the ideal home.
But we must be realistic, as well as idealistic. A silent or noisy struggle goes on in
the home between the old and the new, between a rising and a receding generation. An
orthodox old generation looks askance on an heretical new generation; parents who believe
that to play cards or go to theater is the way of Satan find their children leaving home
to do these very things. Everywhere mothers wonder why daughters like short skirts, powder
and perhaps rouge, when they were brought up on the corset, crinoline and the bustle; and
they rebel against the indictment passed out broadcast by their children. "You are
old-fashioned; this is the year 1921." When children grow up, their wills clash with
their parents', even in the sweetest, and most loving of homes. Behind many a girl's
anxiety to marry is the desire for the unobstructed exercise of her will. Parents too
often seek in their children a continuation of their own peculiarities, their own
characters and ideals, forgetting that the continuity of the generations is true only in a
biological sense, but in no other way. And children grown to strength, power and
intelligence think that each person must seek his experiences himself and forget that true
wisdom lies in what is accepted by all the generations.
Just as we have the types of husbands and the types of wives, so we judge men and women
by the wisdom, dignity and faithfulness of their parenthood; so we judge them by the kind
of children they are to their parents. In this last we have a point in character of great
importance and one upon which the followers of Freud have laid much--over-much--stress.
The effect of too affectionate a home training, too assertive parenthood, is to dwarf
the individuality of the child and make him a sort of parasite, out of contact with his
contemporaries, seclusive and odd. There is a certain brand of goody-goody boy, brought up
tied to his mother's apron strings, who has lost the essential capacities of mixing with
varied types of boys and girls, who is sensitive, shy and retiring, or who is naively
boorish and unschooled in tact. According to some psychiatrists this kind of training
breeds the mental disease known as Dementia Praecox, but I seriously doubt it. One often
finds that the goody-goody boy of fifteen becomes the college fullback at twenty,--that
is, once thrown on the world, the really normal get back their birthright of character. I
think it likely that now and then a feeling of inferiority is bred in this way, a feeling
that may cling and change the current of a boy's life. The real danger of too close a
family life, in whatever way it manifests itself, is that it cuts into real social life,
narrows the field of influences and sympathies, breeds a type of personality of perhaps
good morals but of poor humanity.
The home must never lose its contact with the world; it should never be regarded as the
real world for which a man works. It is a place to rest in, to eat in, to work in; in it
is the spirit of family life, redolent of affection, mutual aid and self-sacrifice; but
more than these, it is the nodal point of affections, concerns and activity which radiate
from it to the rest of the world.