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Studies in the psychology of sex, volume 1


facts of their lives
and tell you in all honesty that their sexual instincts
have developed
easily and wholesomely throughout. And it should not be
difficult to see
why this is so. Let my friends try to transfer their
feelings and theories
from the reproductive region to, let us say, the
nutritive region, the
only other which can be compared to it for importance.
Suppose that eating
and drinking was never spoken of openly, save in veiled
or poetic
language, and that no one ever ate food publicly,
because it was
considered immoral and immodest to reveal the mysteries
of this natural
function. We know what would occur. A considerable
proportion of the
community, more especially the more youthful members,
possessed by an
instinctive and legitimate curiosity, would concentrate
their thoughts on
the subject. They would have so many problems to puzzle
over: How often
ought I to eat? What ought I to eat? Is it wrong to eat
fruit, which I
like? Ought I to eat grass, which I don't like? Instinct
notwithstanding,
we may be quite sure that only a small minority would
succeed in eating
reasonably and wholesomely. The sexual secrecy of life
is even more
disastrous than such a nutritive secrecy would be;
partly because we
expend such a wealth of moral energy in directing or
misdirecting it,
partly because the sexual impulse normally develops at
the same time as
the intellectual impulse, not in the early years of
life, when wholesome
instinctive habits might be formed. And there is always
some ignorant and
foolish friend who is prepared still further to muddle
things: Eat a meal
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