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Physical And Mental Health Are Fundamental

( Originally Published 1923 )

Physical and Mental Health Are Fundamental.—The sexual life of the individual is but one of many expressions of the physiological and psychical forces that constitute life as a whole. A normal development of the sexual life is possible only as the entire life is normally conditioned and trained. Sex education cannot be safely separated from the general physical and mental education, and is a part of this general educational process from the very beginning.

Physical and mental health are the conditions for the vigor which is essential for the activities and interests that make for a balanced and controlled sex life. On the other hand, we may consider health as that unity of the organism; the harmonious working of the body which indicates that all the parts and functions, including the sexual side, are operating in due proportion. The sound character, like the sound body, is thus conceived as a unity. The health of both depends upon habits, and the habits related to physical health are formed early in life, becoming the basis of a sound attitude toward all the functions of the body.

Some of the activities or practices concerned with physical health are more directly related to sex education and adjustment than are others. Habits and manner of sleeping and rising, regular emptying of the bowels and bladder, the cold bath, abundant exercise, are examples. An important factor in nervous stability and control is the training in correlation which comes from the handling of all sorts of objects and materials, working with tools and acquiring skill. On the side of mental health, habits which bear more closely on sex education and adjustment are the cultivation of absorbing hobbies or interests, enthusiastic concentration on the immediate game or activity, the habit of solving a problem or dismissing it, instead of worrying.

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