Marriage - The Meaning Of Sex
( Originally Published 1918 )
SEX is a subject women have been very reluctant to discuss or even to read about. For generations they have been made to feel that sex was something of which they should know nothing. While they were forced to admit that their womanhood was an expression of sex, they put it out of their thoughts as much as possible. They seemed to prefer to think of themselves as sexless beings. They felt apologetic for being women, and in this unnatural attitude of suppression and denial of their sex, they lived and died without ever realizing the glorious possibilities of their distinctive natures.
Sex is not something which is localized in the human body, pertaining only to a certain set of organs. Sex is a universal principle which ex-presses itself in all but the very lowest forms of life. It permeates every atom of the physical structure, so that each tiny cell expresses either masculinity or femininity.
It is as though Mother Nature had divided the living material in the universe into two portions, and bidden one-half to specialize in certain characteristics, the other half to specialize in other characteristics, and this work of specialization has gone on progressively with the evolution of high forms of life and will continue to do so as long as the world lasts.
It is to this division of the life-force into two expressions that we owe the greatest blessings of our existence. All of the sweetest and most beautiful relationships of life spring from this division of the human race into halves, which come together again to make, a perfect whole. The relation of husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters and relatives of all degree, of friend with friend, all find their root in this universal principle of sex. Not only beauty of soul, but much of the beauty of the universe springs from this same great principle. The blossoms of flower and shrub and tree are the expressions of sex in plant life. The coloring of the wings of the bird and the song that he sings are expressions of the same great force. The effort of the lower forms of life to provide nourishment for their offspring furnishes us with the greater part of our food—our grains, tubers and bulbs, our milk and eggs. Sex, we must understand, is but the means chosen whereby life may be continued upon the earth. Through the mating of male and female all the great varieties of life have been made possible.
When we comprehend the universal nature of sex and the immeasurable blessings which it brings us, we perceive at once how absurd it is that any one should be reluctant to consider so vital a subject. Sex in itself is pure, and a proper understanding of it is ennobling. Those who shrink from it show by so doing that they have not yet gained a true conception of the nature of sex and its place in life. Without doubt the ignorance which has been fostered by this disinclination to discuss the subject has resulted in more human suffering, wrong-doing and tragedy than could ever be measured.
Fortunately for us, the day of prudery is passed. There are not many today who feel it necessary to make known their disapproval of anything connected with sex, still less to parade their ignorance, in order to prove their own superior state of morals. Today we dare to look the facts of life in the face and to show our interest in everything that pertains to the human race, realizing that knowledge is always freedom and power.
The sacredness of the function of reproduction must be realized by all, for from it springs human life. Everything connected with the bestowal of life ought to be pure and uplifting. What-ever is connected with the subject that is impure must spring from the misuse or misconception, of the divine creative powers which have been bestowed upon us.
The instinct to see one's life reproduced in other human lives must always be in its essence ennobling. This instinct to continue the life of the race runs directly contrary to the instinct for self-preservation. The bestowal of life means giving up a part of the life of the individual. It is, therefore, essentially an expression of the desire for self-sacrifice and it entails, in the majority of instances, a continuance in the giving of self through the greater part of life.
The study of the life-giving function of the body, therefore, if undertaken with the desire to learn that which will enable one to render greater service to the world than would otherwise be possible, must always be an uplifting one. That it calls for the contemplation of physical details should not distress us, because the body has been truly called "the Temple of God." It is the instrument by which we, as spiritual beings, are able to express ourselves upon this physical plane. To be truly successful in our lives here, we need to come into an understanding of the laws governing this body, in order that we may make it our efficient instrument of expression.
Every part of the body is pure and clean, and worthy of all reverence. That we have not always realized this has been due in large part to the misuse of the bodily functions. Indecency is a question of behavior, and does not pertain to the body itself. Impurity belongs, not to sex, but to the mind of the individual. It has been well said that "to the pure all things are pure." Even in contemplating wrong-doing, we can realize that it is but the misuse of that which in its normal use is right and beautiful. It is only of the abuse of a function of which anyone need feel ashamed.
The feeling of shame once so commonly associated with the subject of sex has been due almost entirely to ignorance. With no understanding of sex in the normal, and seeing only the terrible consequences of this power when directed solely to selfish gratification, it is no wonder that the average individual has come to look upon the whole subject with a feeling of disgust. It is not surprising that parents have been horrified at the suggestion that they should talk with their children upon the subject of sex, because to them that meant discussing certain sins of the human race with their terrible consequences. The distinction between the use and misuse of these powers, however, is now so clearly understood that today it is possible to suggest that one should study the subject of sex without immediately arousing an attitude of mental resistance and condemnation upon the part of one's hearers.