Regulating Marital Intimacies
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THIS is no doubt one of the most serious problems associated with marriage. It is true that when a man and woman are in possession of unusually good health, it does not, in many cases, assume the character of a problem. To a certain extent, under such conditions, it regulates itself. After the newness of their intimate association has worn off they gradually settle down to periods of intimacy determined very largely by the wife. This is as it should be and, naturally, in most cases, pregnancy intervenes. This, in itself, soon lessens the number of intimacies, largely because they lose their attractions.
The mental attitude toward the problem, however, is of very great moment. When a woman does not possess the guiding instinct that is so important under such circumstances, and when she is influenced by the conventional theory of her duty towards her husband, mistakes are made which are often serious in their consequences.
The key-note of the whole situation is to be found, as previously pointed out, in the wife's instinct. She - should be the guiding star. In other words, it is the female who should appoint the time, lead the way, indicate the period when intimacies should be permitted. It is the wife's duty to furnish the sexual "governor" of married life.
As a rule, if a woman is passionate at any other time excepting a few days preceding menstruation and seven to ten days thereafter, she is not controlled entirely by a normal sexual instinct; and few women are so abnormal. Ordinarily, the period when these intimate relations can be most thoroughly enjoyed and when actual benefit can be secured therefrom, is immediately be-fore or after menstruation, for then a woman is more easily aroused sexually. This is also the particular time when conception and pregnancy are most likely to take place. It is the Almighty's plan that it should be so. For this reason, many women are inclined to avoid this particular period. They try to confine sexual relations to a time when they consider that pregnancy is not so liable to intervene, namely, about the third week after menstruation. We must recognize, ,however, that intimacies at such a period are usually harmful to the man and to the woman as well.
Sex was not intended primarily for the pleasure associated therewith. The Creator had a deep, underlying purpose, and when we defeat this purpose, using this important function solely as a means of pleasure, we can rest assured that the full penalty will be exacted from us.
In regulating marital intimacies, you must first determine whether or not your wife is possessed of normal sexual instincts. If she is, then be assured that she will guide you rightly if you will merely follow her lead. If your wife is abnormally sexed and seems to enjoy these relations at all times, then you have a problem before you that is not by any means easy to solve. A very plain talk is absolutely essential under such circumstances, if you wish to avoid serious inroads upon your vital economy.
On the other hand, if your wife is cold and unresponsive, if she never seems to co-operate or reciprocate in the marital act, it is your duty to remain the lover until such a time as her desire can be awakened. If you force yourself upon her, simply satisfying yourself and making no effort to satisfy her, you will not only be harmed by the practice, but you will make it impossible for her finally to develop the passion which is essential to the normal intimacies of marriage. It will really be your fault if your wife remains "frigid." One might say that under such circumstances, if you truly love your wife, you will refrain from the marital act until your life partner has developed a definite desire for such relations. This can be brought about not only through the delicate attentions of affectionate love-making but also through the development of her physical strength and health.
In many cases the lack of sexual passion is due, to a large extent, to general physical weakness, and every effort should be made not only to build up the entire physical organism, but especially to bring into active use the muscles in and around the pelvic regions. Greater strength and improved circulation in this region are important.
It may be said in this connection that bathing also has a marked effect upon the sexual impulse in many cases, apparently as a result of the tonic or invigorating effect upon the nervous system through the hundreds of thousands of tiny nerve-endings located in the skin. Physiological psychologists have declared that fundamentally the sex instinct is a development or specialization of the sense of touch. Any influence which may exert a tonic or stimulating effect upon the skin, therefore, such as bathing, for instance, might naturally make more or less impression upon the sexual centers. Havelock Ellis, the famous British scientist, who is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest authorities on the psychology of sex, has given considerable study to this phase of the subject. According to his conclusions, the great public baths of Rome were closely associated with the well-known licentiousness of that ancient Empire, apparently as a result of the sexually stimulating effect of the forms of bathing so much in vogue among the aristocrats of that time, involving much heating, rubbing and friction ,of the skin. It is also claimed that the Christian fanatics of the Dark Ages avoided bathing and went about in the state of filth that historians record, simply because they recognized that bathing, through its influence upon the sense of touch, was inclined to stimulate the sexual instinct.
However this may be, it is certainly true that bathing is conducive to improved health and that it tones up the nerves, both results tending to improve the sexual condition of one who is weak or in poor health. Cold baths of a minute or so are especially invigorating, to those in fine health, while for this particular purpose the cold sitz bath is exceptionally valuable. Likewise air baths have a splendid tonic effect upon the nerves. These points are important if one has to deal with a wife who is sexually apathetic.
A question often asked in connection with this subject is, "what is excess?" It would be difficult to give an absolutely definite answer. What might be termed excess for one man might be regarded as moderate indulgence in the case of another. There are marked differences in individuals in this respect.
Generally, however, if these relations are confined to the period previously referred to, that is, the particular time during each month when a woman is warm and capable of reciprocating in every way, a man can indulge to a reasonable extent with actual physical benefit, but a rest of considerable time should follow indulgences of this sort. The theory often brought forward that a man should be allowed one intimacy a week, one every other night, or be placed upon any other schedule, making a "cut and dried" affair of these sacred relations, is radically wrong from every standpoint. Sexual intimacies should be confined to a period when they can be intense to both parties concerned. They should not be allowed at any other time. They are to be prohibited absolutely when pregnancy is definitely indicated.
'When the sexual relations have drifted into a nightly affair, when they occur with the same regularity as going to dinner or getting up for breakfast, they become so commonplace as to be unworthy of the name. Men and women who follow a regime of this character simply rob their lives of all that is beautiful and ennobling. As for the devitalizing influence of such a practice, it can scarcely be described in words. The man becomes an automatic, insensible, doped machine. The woman becomes a chattel, a slave, without feeling or emotion. When the woman cannot reciprocate in relations of this character she usually suffers to an unusual degree and loses all zest in life. Ambition, enthusiasm, vivacity and the ordinary attractions of superior womanhood will all disappear when a woman gives herself up in this unnatural manner.
Nevertheless, we are compelled reluctantly to admit that marriage in many instances means regular relations of this sort. Marital intimacy degenerates into a mere habit, a miserable matter of "routine." As a rule it is only when a man approaches partial impotence that he awakens to the full significance of his mistake. If he continues even then to dissipate in the same manner, he soon reaches complete impotence. Sexual capacity, as I have already said, was created for a divine purpose, and when it is abused in this manner the victim of the mistake frequently finds himself without either sexual desire or power. He becomes impotent—a weak, useless, incomplete man, a nonentity, a mere pretence. In many instances such cases are incurable. Through a process of physical upbuilding a cure can often be effected, but there is no other means through which this complaint can possibly be affected in the slightest degree. It may be added that impotence often really acts as a life-preserver, by putting an end to these excesses. Were it not for the coming of impotence to interfere the victim would probably continue until he killed himself.