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Studies in the psychology of sex, volume VI. Sex in Relation to Society


whither we are moving,
unless we know whence we came. We cannot understand the
significance of
the changes around us, nor face them with cheerful
confidence, unless we
are acquainted with the drift of the great movements
that stir all
civilization in never-ending cycles.
In discussing sexual questions which are very largely
matters of social
hygiene we shall thus still be preserving the
psychological point of view.
Such a point of view in relation to these matters is not
only legitimate
but necessary. Discussions of social hygiene that are
purely medical or
purely juridical or purely moral or purely theological
not only lead to
conclusions that are often entirely opposed to each
other but they
obviously fail to possess complete applicability to the
complex human
personality. The main task before us must be to
ascertain what best
expresses, and what best satisfies, the totality of the
impulses and ideas
of civilized men and women. So that while we must
constantly bear in mind
medical, legal, and moral demands--which all correspond
in some respects
to some individual or social need--the main thing is to
satisfy the
demands of the whole human person.
It is necessary to emphasize this point of view because
it would seem
that no error is more common among writers on the
hygienic and moral
problems of sex than the neglect of the psychological
standpoint. They may
take, for instance, the side of sexual restraint, or the
side of sexual
unrestraint, but they fail to realize that so narrow a
basis is inadequate
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