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

chapter in the present volume could easily form, and
often has formed, the
topic of a volume, and the literature of many of these
subjects is already
extremely voluminous. It must therefore be our main
object here not to
accumulate details but to place each subject by turn, as
clearly and
succinctly as may be, in relation to those fundamental
principles of
sexual psychology which--so far as the data at present
admit--have been
set forth in the preceding volumes.
It may seem to some, indeed, that in this exposition I
should have
confined myself to the present, and not included so wide
a sweep of the
course of human history and the traditions of the race.
It may especially
seem that I have laid too great a stress on the
influence of Christianity
in moulding sexual ideals and establishing sexual
institutions. That, I am
convinced, is an error. It is because it is so
frequently made that the
movements of progress among us--movements that can never
at any period of
social history cease--are by many so seriously
misunderstood. We cannot
escape from our traditions. There never has been, and
never can be, any
"age of reason." The most ardent co-called "free-
thinker," who casts aside
as he imagines the authority of the Christian past, is
still held by that
past. If its traditions are not absolutely in his blood,
they are
ingrained in the texture of all the social institutions
into which he was
born and they affect even his modes of thinking. The
latest modifications
of our institutions are inevitably influenced by the
past form of those
institutions. We cannot realize where we are, nor