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Free Love

( Originally Published 1936 )



PRE-MARITAL sexual intercourse is considered to be a desirable prelude to marriage not only when it has the character of a trial union with the future spouse, but also on account of the general erotic experience provided by it. Vatsayana mentions, among the men who succeed easily with the objects of their love, " men who are experienced in the art of making love; men who were once married but have lost their wife ". It is a fairly common opinion, especially in France, that the young man who is to become a steady husband should have enjoyed the pleasures of life to the full and, above all, gained experience in the sphere of love. Among the upper classes this experience is generally received from prostitutes; but in Adler's opinion, " the man who is not specially endowed by nature and experience for psychic intercourse with women, is not likely, through his earlier intercourse with Venus vulgivaga, to bring into marriage any useful knowledge, psychic or physical ". Havelock Ellis points out that such training may make him waver between two opposite courses of action, both of them mistaken. " On the one hand, he may treat his bride as a prostitute, or as a novice to be specially moulded into the sexual shape he is most accustomed to, thus running the risk either of perverting or of disgusting her. On the other hand, realising that the purity and dignity of his bride place her in an altogether different class from the women he has previously known, he may go to the opposite extreme of treating her with an exaggerated respect, and so fail either to arouse or to gratify her erotic needs ".1 Dr. Marie Stopes says that she knows of a man who, after a dissolute life, met a woman whom he reverenced and adored and eventually married; but to preserve her " purity "—her difference from the others—he never consummated his marriage with her, which made her strangely unhappy. The same writer observes that the prostitute sometimes supplies an element which is not purely physical, and which is often lacking in the wife's relation with her husband, an element of charm and mutual gaiety in pleasure.

It would seem that in order to gain really useful sex experience, a man should receive it from a woman who belongs, more or less, to his own class. Nowadays he does so, in some countries at least, to a considerable extent also among people of education. Lindsey, who was judge of the Juvenile Court in Denver for a period of twenty-six years and made it a laboratory for moral advice and instruction, states that 15 to 25 per cent. of those high-school girls who begin with hugging and kissing eventually" go the limit ". Of the one hundred married women in New York city studied by Dr. Hamilton, all of whom had attained a relatively high level of culture, 20 per cent. gave a history of pre-marital sex intercourse with men other than their husbands, and of these a comparatively large number belonged to the younger generation, which suggests, as he says, an increasing tendency toward sexual unconventionality among the women.' But Dr. Hamilton's findings do not support the contention that pre-marital sex experience on the part of men is conducive to marital happiness; on the contrary, when correlating it with degree of satisfaction in marriage, he found that a higher percentage of those men who were virgins at marriage belonged to the satisfied group than did those who were not. It is to be feared that the libertine sooner or later breaks loose again when married.

It is further contended that pre-marital sex relations even of a promiscuous kind may exercise a favourable influence upon marriage by delaying it. Balzac, in speaking of the danger of early marriages, quotes Rousseau's words: " There must always be a period of licence, at one age if not at another; a leaven is only bad which ferments too soon or too late ". Without such an outlet the sexual impulse may be too powerful to be restrained, and consequently lead to a premature and unhappy marriage. Or, if restrained, it may be the cause of much discomfort and even unhealth. On the question whether prolonged abstinence from sexual intercourse is injurious to physical and mental health or not, there is much diversity of opinion among medical writers; the result seems to differ considerably in different cases. As for the soothing of the sexual passion, it should be remembered that abstinence from sexual intercourse does not imply abstinence from all sexual activity. Nature has provided mankind with " sex safety valves " (to use Dr. Collins' phrase), which are adequate if too much strain is not put upon them; and practically all men and very many women strive for and obtain some form of orgastic appeasement. However useful sexual intercourse may be to the unmarried it has also its disadvantages. It may give venereal disease to him who practises it; and it may be fraught with serious consequences also for the female partner, which the men are only too often apt to ignore.

One consequence is eventual pregnancy leading to childbirth, if not interrupted by abortion. The pro-portion of illegitimate births, while varying greatly in different countries, is much higher among the poor than among the well-to-do, and particularly high among the younger girls; in 1918, in the registration area of the United States, 45.2 per cent. of the unmarried mothers were under twenty years of age, while the nodal age for such girls was from eighteen to nineteen.' The girl has to pay for her faux pas in many ways. She is generally, at least among large strata of society, disgraced for ever, and may be treated as an outcast, even in the most pathetic circumstances. According to Carol Aronovici, five of the maternity hospitals in Philadelphia refused to take unmarried mothers and five others took them only in emergency cases. Of the thirty-one states that have enacted some form of mother's pensions twenty-nine extend the benefits only to mothers of legitimate children, whilst most of the others make such specifications with regard to good conduct in the community as to exclude the unmarried mother.' Illegitimate childbirth is a frequent cause of prostitution, both on account of the consequences of the mother's lost virginity and for economic reasons. Nowadays she has generally the right to claim support for her child from its father. Even the famous French law according to which it was prohibited to inquire into the paternity of an illegitimate child was changed in 1912 into a prohibition of doing so only if the mother, during the legal period of conception, has led a notoriously bad life or is known to have had sexual inter-course with another man. The German code makes a similar exception in the latter case only. On the other hand, in Austria and Hungary the law knows no such exceptio plurimum concumbentium: if the mother has had several lovers she is permitted to select for herself which she chooses to make responsible for her child. But there are numbers of cases in which the girl, for some reason or other, can obtain no support at all from the father of her child; in Berlin she could do so only in a third part of the cases of illegitimate birth, between the years 1904 and 1912.6 And when she receives some support the amount of it is generally quite inadequate from the child's point of view.

The illegitimacy of birth affects the offspring even more than the mother. The death-rate for illegitimate infants is very much higher than that for legitimate ones: in various European countries it is about twice as great or almost so,' and in the cities in the United States almost four times as great.' The cause of this is the unmarried mother's inferior economic and social conditions; " it is here society that operates and kills, not nature " (Riihle). Another result of them is the comparatively large number of criminals among the children of unmarried parents, who grow up in so unfavourable circumstances. The way in which they have been treated in the Western world is a disgrace to its civilization. Owing to Christianity's horror of sexual acts falling outside the monogamous marriage relation, the offspring of illicit intercourse were punished for their parents' sins with ignominy and loss of rights that belonged to other, more respectable members of the Church and the State. In Teutonic countries their position was much better in earlier times than subsequently, when the new religion made its influence felt, depriving them of all title to inheritance; and in some law-books they were treated as almost rightless beings, on a par with robbers and thieves.' There are still traces left of this iniquity. Even the German law, which prescribes that illegitimate children shall have the same rights with regard to their physical, mental, and social development as have the children of married parents, is not applied to their title to inheritance, nor to the amount of support received by their mother.' Soviet Russia is the only country in Europe where there is no illegitimacy of birth, all children having exactly the same rights. It certainly seems both absurd and unjust that the legal rights of any citizens should be influenced by the judgments which society passes upon their mothers; but however much legislation may improve the conditions of illegitimate children, it cannot make them equal to those under which most other children develop. Family allowances may be granted to their mothers where the father is unknown or indigent, foundling institutions may provide them with an education that is the best possible in the circumstances, but nothing can compensate them for their lack of an adequate home.

While the law can give the child of an unmarried mother the same rights as it grants the child of a married one, it could, of course, in a monogamic society give the unmarried mother the rights of a married woman, by compelling the father to marry her, only if he had no wife before. Among many savage peoples and among certain strata of the population in civilised countries, custom requires him to do so, and it has been urged by some modern writers that there should be a law to the same effect. It is said that every healthy woman, married or unmarried, has a right to be proud of her motherhood; that the taking of a husband should not be imposed on her as the price of her right to give birth to a child; that the social stigma attaching to unmarried maternity should be removed.' But it cannot be removed by legislation. And as long as this stigma remains, the man who makes an unmarried woman pregnant inflicts an injury upon her, apart from any other evil consequences that may result from her pregnancy.

It may of course be argued that all such evils can be avoided through the use of contraceptives. Dr. Ellis maintains that the much smaller rate of illegitimate children in England, compared with the rate of such children in Germany, is due to the wider adoption of methods for preventing conception; but when we hear that their number is rapidly increasing in Germany, in spite of the fact that contraceptives are used on a large scale among all classes, we can by no means feel reassured that extra-matrimonial procreation will some day become an anachronism. Strictly speaking, however, the censure to which the unmarried mother is subjected refers to something else than the birth of the child: this event is only a conclusive and impressive testimony of an act which itself is considered degrading.

The Christian attitude towards extra-matrimonial connections was fixed by the Church. While looking with suspicion even on the lifelong union of one man with one woman, she pronounced all other forms of sexual intercourse to be mortal sins. But in this, as in many other points of morals, there has always been considerable discrepancy between Christian doctrine and public opinion in Christian countries. The influence of the ascetic doctrine of the Church was in one respect quite contrary to its aspirations: the institution of clerical celibacy created a large class of people to whom illicit love was the only means of gratifying a natural desire, and this could hardly be favourable to the ideal of chastity. During the Middle Ages incontinence was largely an object of ridicule rather than censure, and in the comic literature of that period the clergy are represented as the great corrupters of domestic virtue. Whether the tenet of chastity laid down by the code of chivalry was taken more seriously may be fairly doubted. For a mediaeval knight the chief object of life was love; he who did not understand how to win a lady was but half a man; and the difference between a lover and a seducer was apparently slight.

The Reformation brought about some change, if in no other respect at least by making marriage lawful for the clergy. In fits of religious enthusiasm even the secular legislators busied themselves with acts of incontinence in which two unmarried adults of different sex were consenting parties. In England, in the days of the Commonwealth, in cases of less serious breach of chastity than adultery and incest, each man or woman was for each offence to be committed to the common gaol for three months; and in Scotland, after the Reformation, fornication was punished with a severity nearly equal to that which attended the infraction of the marriage vow. But the fate of these and similar laws has been either to be repealed or to become invalid. For ordinary acts of incontinence public opinion is, practically at least, the only judge. In the case of female unchastity its sentence is severe enough among the upper ranks of society, while, so far as the lower classes are concerned, it varies considerably even in different parts of the same country, and is in many cases mild or acquitting. As to similar acts committed by unmarried men, the words which Cicero uttered on behalf of Coelius might be repeated by any modern advocate who, in defending his client, ventured to express frankly the popular opinion on the subject. He said: " If there be anyone who thinks that youth is to be wholly interdicted from amours with courtesans, he certainly is very strict indeed. I cannot deny what he says; but still he is at variance not only with the licence of the present age, but even with the habits of our ancestors, and with what they used to consider allowable ". It seems to me that with regard to sexual relations between unmarried men and women Christianity has done little more than establish a standard which, though accepted perhaps in theory, is hardly recognised by the feelings of the large majority of people—or at least of men-in Christian countries.

This double standard has found expression even in legislation. In Germany, in the Middle Ages, the protection of the law extended only to respectable women. The crime of rape upon an unmarried woman was possible only if she was a virgin; in the terms of the Schwabenspiegel, the mediaeval code of Southern Germany, the light woman is non-suited from any action against a man for carnal violence. And in the Supreme Court of the German Empire it was not long ago laid down that a husband has the right to contest the validity of her marriage if he learns that before the marriage was contracted his wife has had sexual relations with another man and has concealed the fact from his knowledge; whereas the same Court rejected the plea of a woman who contested the validity of her marriage on the ground that her husband had concealed the fact of having previously had a child by another woman,

The double standard has been criticised by modern writers, who claim that with regard to pre-marital sexual relations there should be perfect equality between the sexes. This aim might be achieved in two different ways. Some maintain that if it is wrong for a woman to indulge in such relations, it is also wrong for a man to do so; whereas others argue that if a man has the right to be incontinent, a woman should have the same right. Ellen Key writes: " The modern woman's great distress has been the discovery of the dissimilarity between her own erotic nature and that of man; or rather, she has refused and still refuses to make this discovery and thinks that only the custom of society—with its wholesome severity towards her, its reckless leniency towards him—has brought about the difference which exists and which she would abolish. But while one group proposes to do so by demanding feminine chastity of the man, the other would claim masculine freedom for the woman ".I The earlier feminists belonged largely to the former group; but when they advocated sexual equality between men and women it was, apparently, not in the first place sexual morality that they had at heart. " It became increasingly evident ", says Mr. Wells, " that a large part of the woman's suffrage movement was animated less by the desire for freedom and fullness of life, than by a passionate jealousy and hatred of the relative liberties of men. For one woman in the resuscitated movement who wanted to live generously and nobly, a score were desirous merely of making things uncomfortable for the insolent, embarrassing, oblivious male. . . . That feminism had anything to do with sexual health and happiness, was repudiated by these ladies with flushed indignation so soon as the suggestion was made plain to them ". Dr. Davis' question whether a young man before marriage is ever justified in having sex inter-course, was answered in the negative by 8o6, or 79 per cent., of the women to whom the question was put, and in the affirmative by 213, or 20.9 per cent. Various conditions were suggested by the minority group, such as temptation, the strain and stress of exceptional circumstances, or injury to health; some considered that love was sufficient justification, and others that obstacles to marriage would justify engaged couples. Again, the question whether a young woman before marriage was ever justified in having sex intercourse, was answered in the negative by 772, or 80.5 per cent., of the women, and in the affirmative by 186, or 19.4 per cent., which shows only a slight variation, 1.1 per cent., from the opinions expressed in regard to young men; and those who replied affirmatively offered the same sort of justification for the women as for the men. But most of the women questioned belonged to the pre-war generation.

Bertrand Russell points out that modern feminists are no longer so anxious as the feminists of thirty years ago to curtail the " vices " of men, but ask rather that what is permitted to men shall be permitted also to them. He is himself in sympathy with this view. " It is evident ", he says, " that so long as many men for economic reasons find early marriage impossible, while many women cannot marry at all, equality as between men and women demands a relaxation in the traditional standards of feminine virtue. If men are allowed pre-nuptial intercourse (as in fact they are), women must be allowed it also. And, in all countries where there is an excess of women, it is an obvious injustice that those women who by arithmetical necessity must remain unmarried should be wholly debarred from sexual experience. Doubtless the pioneers of the women's movement had no such consequences in view, but their modern followers perceive them clearly, and whoever opposes these deductions must face the fact that he or she is not in favour of justice to the female sex ".I The equality between the sexes as regards the right to sexual relationships outside marriage had been advocated long before, at the time of the French revolution and by socialist writers, and nowadays the cause has many champions both in Europe and Americas In Soviet Russia the same liberties in sex as in other human relations are, as a matter of course, granted to men and women. " If a man and woman wish to go off on a trip on the Volga or to the Caucasus for a love-life of their own for a week, a month, a year, any period, it is their affair, and only theirs. The law will not interfere with them; nor will public opinion; nor any-body or anything else. It is as respectable a procedure or indulgence as a honeymoon with one's own spouse ".

The double standard of pre-nuptial chastity has been attributed to a variety of causes. It is said to be due chiefly to the opinion that the sexual instinct is stronger in man than in woman. Another alleged cause is that virginity is practically the sole criterion of assured paternity: " the hymen, therefore, is like the seal used by stores to ensure the fact that goods which are exposed to sale have not been touched or handled... . A great over-valuation of virginity is found only in communities that treat their women as if they were chattels ".1 According to Judge Lindsey, the demand for chastity in women rather than in men has reasons connected with the inheritance of property, and the desire of men to leave -their possessions to children of their own begetting. Bloch thinks it is possible that the demand for the virgin intactness of the wife at the time of marriage is based upon the old experience that by sexual intercourse, and still more by the first conception, certain far-reaching specific changes are induced in the feminine organism, so that the first man impregnates the feminine being for ever in his own sense, and even transmits his influence to children of a second male progenitor (a rather fantastic explanation which presupposes that the said " experience " must have been very widespread, also in the savage world). Other suggested explanations are that the demand in question is rooted in man's vanity, or in the humiliation he feels if he has to accept " second-hand goods ". Bertrand Russell says " it would seem that it is only with the introduction of the patriarchal system that men came to desire virginity in their brides. Where the matrilineal system exists young women sow their wild oats as freely as young men ".8 This allegation is apparently based (like some other statements made by him with reference to " matrilineal societies ") upon the customs of one small matrilineal people, the Trobriand Islanders in Melanesia. According to Dr. Briffault, the demand for virginity in the bride is in the first instance a claim established by the contract of child-marriage, the lack of virginity being a breach of faith and an act of commercial dishonesty. To this theory various objections may be raised, as I have pointed out elsewhere; 2 not the least important among them is that a high standard of pre-nuptial chastity in the bride is reported by competent observers to exist among a large number of savage peoples who are not known to practise infant-betrothal as a rule, and whose marriages are no business transactions.

As to the demand for virginity in the bride among savage peoples, it may be said that among a very large number of them there is no such demand. Yet in looking at the facts a little more closely, we find, first, that in many cases the pre-nuptial freedom is not primitive but due to contact with civilised races; and secondly, that the sexual connections between a boy and a girl are very frequently a preliminary to their marriage, being either a regular method of courtship or a trial before establishing more permanent relations. It also seems that there may have been some misunderstanding as to the actual character of those relations. We often read that a girl is blamed or even severely punished for having a pre-nuptial child, although both sexes enjoy perfect freedom previous to marriage. I find it difficult to believe that at the birth of an illegitimate child, which is said to be a rare event, the condemnation merely refers to the fact that there has been neither contraception (which is not known to be very common among savages) nor abortion; but there may also be another explanation. " It is scarcely credible ", says Torday, " that Bantu parents and elders should be devoid of common sense to such an extent as to permit their children to have promiscuous intercourse and yet visit them with dire penalties when the natural consequence, pregnancy, follows "; and he thinks we may assume " that whatever freedom boys and girls take with each other, as a rule actual sexual intercourse does not take place ". Other authoritative ethnologists have made statements to the same effect with reference to Bantu and Nilotic tribes. Those practices might then be very similar to the night-courting customs which are so common among Teutonic and Celtic peoples and which —as I am told by Dr. K. R. V. Wikman, who has studied them more minutely than anybody else—do not normally imply coitus, unless they have the character of trial unions calculated to testify the woman's capacity for bearing children. In any case, however commonly pre-nuptial chastity be disregarded in the savage world, we must not suppose that such disregard is anything like a general characteristic of the lower races. The statistical investigation into such chastity among the " simpler peoples ", which has been made with much industry and care by Messrs. Hobhouse, Wheeler, and Ginsberg, has led them to the conclusion that among the cases examined by them—about 120 in number, probable ones reckoned as a half—those in which pre-nuptial relations are condemned are nearly as numerous as those in which they are condoned; and my own collection of facts convinces me that the savage standard of pre-nuptial continence has not been overestimated by those authors. It is obvious that it is not proportionate to the tribe's degree of culture. Generally speaking, the lower hunters have a stricter standard than the higher ones, and the lowest agricultural stage comes out materially better than the two higher stages; while the higher agricultural tribes stand considerably below the pastoral ones.'

The social condemnation of pre-nuptial unchastity in women is obviously due to the preference which a man gives to a virgin bride. Such preference is a fact of very general occurrence both among uncivilised and civilised peoples, although there are exceptions to the rule. Desire for offspring may induce a savage to marry a young woman who has borne a child, or a virgin bride may be avoided because " she who has not been known to others can have nothing pleasing about her ", or because a wife " is nothing worth unless she has been used to consort with men ". The preference given to virgin brides springs, no doubt, partly from a feeling akin to jealousy of women who have had previous connections with other men, but also largely from an instinctive appreciation of female coyness. Each sex is attracted by the distinctive characteristics of the opposite sex, and coyness is a feminine quality. In mankind, as among the lower animals, the female requires to be courted, often endeavouring for a long time to escape from the male. And it is certainly not the woman who yields most readily to the desires of a man that is most attractive to him; as an ancient writer puts it, all men love seasoned dishes, not plain meats, or plainly dressed fish, and it is modesty that gives the bloom to beauty. Conspicuous eagerness in a woman appears to a man unwomanly, repulsive, contemptible; his ideal is the virgin, the lustful woman he despises. Where marriage is the customary form of sexual relations, pre-nuptial incontinence in a woman, as suggesting lack of coyness and modesty, is therefore more or less apt to disgrace her. At the same time it is a disgrace to, and consequently an offence against, her family, especially where the ties of kinship are strong. Moreover, where wives are purchased the unchaste girl, by lowering her market value, deprives her father or parents of part of their property. This commercial point of view is found not only among savage peoples, but is expressed in the Mosaic rule: " If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins ". The girl, however, is not the only offender: the offence against her family is divided between her and the seducer, who is regarded in the light of a robber spoiling their merchandise. Marriage by purchase has thus raised the standard of female chastity, and also, to some extent, checked the incontinence of the men. But in numerous instances where a seduction is followed by more or less serious consequences for the seducer, the penalty he has to pay is evidently something else than the mere market value of the girl.

With the increasing independence of daughters a seduction has, more or less, ceased to be looked upon as an offence against the family. It has never been seriously looked upon as an offence against the girl. Even in the case of rape the harm done to her is among many savages not considered at all; nay, the Teutons in early days hardly severed rape from. abduction, the kinsmen of the woman feeling themselves equally wronged in either case. Among ourselves the seducer generally goes scot-free, while all dishonour falls on the woman. He therefore incurs a responsibility which is not lessened by being generally ignored. Her error may be cancelled by marriage with her partner; but the partnership may also be terminated at any moment, to the detriment of the woman. As Moll observes, " a prostitute knows that she is an object of pleasure for a definite time, a woman who associates herself with a man in free love is always the injured party when they separate ". If absolute freedom to love reigned ' , says Gina Lombroso, " all women would be unhappy ". Grete Meisel-Hess writes: " Panegyrics of the free sexual union are based upon a profound ignorance of the masculine nature. Man is ill-adapted for the free intimacy. . . . In marriage the man does not give free rein to his inclinations . . . whereas he cannot leave his ` beloved ' quickly enough when his passion cools ". The intensity of his love may be measured with more certainty after than before possession; indeed, there are men who lose all interest in a woman directly they have possessed her. Rousseau exclaims: " Light-loving woman, do you wish to know whether you are loved? Study your lover as he -leaves your arms ".

The girl who loses her virginity easily loses her chance of marriage. And what is worse: her loss of virginity is a frequent cause of prostitution. " The first coitus ", says Marro, " exercises a singular influence upon the morals of the woman "; a prostitute said to him, " When a door has once been broken in it is difficult to keep it closed ". The Greek orator expressed a well-known fact in his remark that the moment a woman loses her chastity her mind is changed.? " To the man ", said Madame de Stael, " love is an episode in his life, to a woman it is life itself ". When a woman was reproached by a French magistrate for living with a thief, she exclaimed, " But when I am not in love I am nothing ".

There are other peculiarities of the sexual impulse in woman that deserve notice in the present connection. Opinions differ widely as to its average intensity. In the East women are said to be conspicuous for their sensuality; according to the sacred literature of the Hindus their sexual desires can as little be satisfied or fed full as a devouring fire can be fed full of combustible materials, or as the ocean can be overfilled by the rivers that pour their waters into it. In all Greek love-stories of early date " the woman falls in love with the man, never, apparently, the reverse "; and " the Euripidean woman who ` falls in love ' thinks first of all, ` How can I seduce the man I love? ' " Christian asceticism, as is well known, regarded woman as the symbol of sex. But since the last century it is a very prevalent opinion among sexologists that the sexual impulse is not so strongly developed in women as in men; 4 this, for instance, is the view of such authorities as Kraft-Ebing, Moll, O. Adler,' and Loewenfeld. But others maintain that the normal woman has as vigorous a sex appetite as the normal man, if not more so.' General comparisons relating to intensity, however, are difficult, because the sexual impulse shows greater variations in women—both in the same woman on different occasions and in different women—than in men. Among the latter it is very rarely altogether absent, whereas quite a large number of women possess so-called naturce frigidee, and have no sensual inclination to sexual intercourse, to which they are either indifferent or in some cases strongly averse, even regarding it with horror; and their frigidity may persist also after their introduction to it. In a still greater proportion of women the sexual impulse never exceeds a certain minimal intensity. But in contrast with these women of frigid temperament there are others whose sexual passions may be so powerful that no man can satisfy their needs.

While love occupies a much larger place in a woman's mind than in a man's, the purely sensual element is normally less marked than the spiritual side. The sexual impulse is often satisfied by the sensations of touch from mutual contact of portions of the body, by the writing and receiving of affectionate letters, by the play of imagination and illusion, and may even find more satisfaction in mere caresses than in actual coitus. The desire for the latter tends to awaken considerably later in women than in men, as long as hey remain free from all experience of sexual stimulation. A woman's love is mingled with devotion and respect. She desires to gratify the man she loves; she may forego sensual enjoyments rather than the satisfaction of her ideal love; she may even consider sexual intercourse important not so much because it gives her pleasure as because she sees in it the expression of the affection which her husband has for her. I shall quote some statements made by female writers as to the differences between men's love and that of their own sex.

Ellen Key writes: " Women never take sufficient account of sensuousness, nor men of spirituality. . . . It is no doubt true that woman also wishes to be made happy by man through her senses. But while this longing in her not unfrequently awakes long after she already loves a man so that she could give her life for him, with man the desire to possess a woman often awakes before he even loves her enough to give his little finger for her. That with women love usually proceeds from the soul to the senses and sometimes does not reach so far; that with men it usually proceeds from the senses to the soul and sometimes never completes the journey—this is for both the most painful of the existing distinctions between man and woman ". Hedwig Wega says that while a man can take a fancy to a woman for whom he entertains mere sensual feelings, a woman with normal emotions cannot give herself up to a man unless she respects him.2 Gina Lombroso gives the following analysis of the love of man and woman: " For man, love is an essentially selfish, sensual and passionate attraction, to which is added the pleasure of conquest and the pride of ownership ". For woman, " love is the attraction she feels for some one whom she esteems above herself, with whom and for whom she may exercise her activity and her altruism. For her, love gives the opportunity to care for and minister to him who has chosen her. Consequently, her ardour will be in close relation to the esteem and admiration that she has for the man she loves, for this esteem will render the choice of which she has been the object all the more flattering. A woman cannot love a person whom she does not esteem.... The fact that in woman love is intimately allied to esteem and admiration explains why the highest aspiration of feminine love is for the moral and intellectual sympathy to which man is almost indifferent ". Of the female students at the University of Moscow who answered questionnaires submitted to them a few years before the war, 279 declared that they esteemed a man chiefly for his mental qualities, and only 6o that they did so for his physical ones; and a still smaller number attributed to sexual intercourse the dominant rôle in love. Among 1267 male and female students belonging to various institutions in Kharkov in 1926, who lived in durable sex relations, 23.4 per cent. of the men and only 1.9 per cent. of the women valued the physical qualities of their partners more highly than the psychical ones.

In the present connection it is of particular importance to notice that in a very large number of young women there is no direct desire for coitus until such a desire is aroused by a man. But when once aroused it is impossible to foresee the limit it will reach. These are facts that greatly increase the responsibility for seducing a virgin and abandoning her.

It will perhaps be argued that if pre-nuptial freedom were granted to girls by public opinion, the chief dangers now attending it would disappear, and that the wheel of evolution actually moves in that direction. After all, it is said, the insistence upon the intact virginity of the wife is a demand made by an epicure who finds in the virgin an especially piquant morsel. " Among the working classes and the greater part of the men of our agricultural population ", says Loewenfeld, " virginity is hardly expected in their mate. The know-ledge that the loved one or the fiancee has already had intimate relations with another man does not reduce her value to any extent; and even the presence of a child the wife brings with her on marriage very often does not affect unfavourably the character of the marital life if the husband happen to be a good-natured sort of fellow. In the socially higher classes and the cultured strata, on the other hand, the men are still completely dominated by the dogma of the sexual honour of the woman, although this dogma leads in part to consequences that could not be admitted before the forum of a higher and purer ethical standard ".2 But among the upper classes, also, many men have no objection to marrying divorced women or widows. Does not this prove that their demand of bridal virginity in other cases is due to convention rather than to genuine feeling?

Arguments like these fail to take notice of two important facts. One is the close association which exists in a refined mind between the sensual and the spiritual elements in sexual love, and the other fact is the particular prominence that distinguishes the spiritual element in feminine love of a higher type. Widows and divorced wives are not on a par with girls who sow their wild oats, which the advocates of " the new morality " admit them to do; the demand of virginity in a bride may be abandoned by a cultured man, when the lack of it is not inconsistent with that refinement of love which he expects in a woman who is to become his wife. He may himself indulge in the coarser forms of love, and at the same time despise a woman who does so. Professor Blonsky, in speaking of women in Moscow who form numerous relationships with men, either successively or simultaneously, points out that intelligent men who have intercourse with such women as a convenient means of gratifying their sexual needs hold them in contempt and treat them with great brutality. It is argued that the tendency to rationalisation in the new morality will lead to a devaluation of virginity in the judgment of the man and in the life of the woman; 2 but I believe that the double standard of pre-nuptial freedom, though it may be modified by reasoning and even lose its character of a moral question, is too deeply rooted in man's emotional appreciation of virgin chastity, to allow the problem to be solved in a purely intellectual fashion. At the same time the union of a man and a woman who, tied together by genuine love implying mutual affection, decide to live together as husband and wife though not joined in legal wedlock, is not equivalent to other, coarser, kinds of sexual relationships; and I believe that the time may not be far off when the only objection which public opinion perhaps has to raise to such a union is that the official registration of it may be of some social importance.

But even if public opinion would, in the future, grant complete sexual freedom to the unmarried of either sex, the indulgence in it by girls would still be attendant with serious disadvantages, already pointed out. There would undoubtedly be exploitation of women by men: girls who remained virgins would still be preferred as wives, and the others would run the risk of being used only for temporary purposes. Feminists advocating equal freedom for men and women seem to overlook the benefits that the men would derive from it: they would find it far easier to gratify their desires in a more agreeable manner than through intercourse with prostitutes, and at the same time to acquire sexual experience considered useful for their future marriage. When speaking of " the in-justice " of different moral demands on man and woman, those advocates also fail to notice that this difference is ultimately due to a difference in the sexual instincts of the two sexes.

A female writer asserts that every woman, as well as every man, wishes to possess the other party not only solely, but also as the first, although only the man could enforce his wish. This is certainly not correct. Women who demand purity in men do not do so on account of an instinct inherent in their sex. Dr. Ellis observes that women are not attracted to virginal innocence in men, and that they frequently have good ground for viewing such innocence with suspicion. According to Freud, they divine that complete abstinence during youth often enough is not the best preparation for marriage in a young man, and " prefer those of their wooers who have already proved them-selves to be men with other women ". Sofie Lazarsfeld thinks they are usually only afraid that the man may renew some old affair. Michels says that while there is a category of girls who give no thought at all to the sexual past of their future husbands, and a very small minority who wish it to have been on the same plane as their own, " at the present day, the majority of girls entering upon marriage regard previous sexual experience on the part of their husbands as a necessity, as a matter beyond discussion ".4 Juan Valera writes in his novel Dona Luz: " It pleases a woman and in-creases her affection for him to know that her husband has had some former love affair. And this is no matter how modest or how jealously inclined she may be. The qualities that do most honour to a woman are modesty and decorum, those that do most honour to a man, intelligence and courage. Hence it results that even the most pious and modest young girl far from being displeased with her future husband if she chances to discover that he has been ` fortunate ' with the fair sex, will love him for this more exclusively and passionately than ever. She sees in this ` good fortune ' a proof of the merit of the man who has been thus favoured by other women; the value of his affection for herself is thereby enhanced, since he has preferred her to so many others whose affection he might have won or has won; and it almost seems as if there was conferred upon her a high moral mission, flattering alike to her vanity and her piety, namely, to render her lover—by virtue of her superior and purer attractions—constant to one object, and to convert him from a gay gallant, dangerous to the peace of her sex, into an in-offensive, tranquil, and sensible head of a family... . To have been fortunate in love is and always has been one of the most powerful means at a man's disposal of winning the love of other women. And this from the heroic and primitive age down to our own times ". Something of this took place in the heart of Dona Luz, who knew that Don Jaime had been adored in Madrid, and seeing him now so enamoured, so devoted, so humble, her heart swelled with pride and joy at the conviction that she was loved a thousand times more dearly than any of her former rivals had been.

To sum up the gist of this lengthy discussion: how-ever desirable it may be for a man to receive sex experience from a woman belonging to his own class as a prelude to his marriage, the acquisition of it is attended with such risks for the woman that he must consider whether he has a right to utilise her as a means of preparing him for his marriage—with another woman.

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