The Evolution of Modesty: The Phenomena of SexualPeriodicity HTML version

The origin of these Studies dates from many years back. As a
youth I was faced, as others are, by the problem of sex. Living
partly in an Australian city where the ways of life were plainly
seen, partly in the solitude of the bush, I was free both to
contemplate and to meditate many things. A resolve slowly grew
up within me: one main part of my life-work should be to make
clear the problems of sex.
That was more than twenty years ago. Since then I can honestly
say that in all that I have done that resolve has never been very far
from my thoughts. I have always been slowly working up to this
central problem; and in a book published some three years ago—
Man and Woman: a Study of Human Secondary Sexual
Characters—I put forward what was, in my own eyes, an
introduction to the study of the primary questions of sexual
Now that I have at length reached the time for beginning to publish
my results, these results scarcely seem to me large. As a youth, I
had hoped to settle problems for those who came after; now I am
quietly content if I do little more than state them. For even that, I
now think, is much; it is at least the half of knowledge. In this
particular field the evil of ignorance is magnified by our efforts to
suppress that which never can be suppressed, though in the effort
of suppression it may become perverted. I have at least tried to find
out what are the facts, among normal people as well as among
abnormal people; for, while it seems to me that the physician's
training is necessary in order to ascertain the facts, the physician
for the most part only obtains the abnormal facts, which alone
bring little light. I have tried to get at the facts, and, having got at
the facts, to look them simply and squarely in the face. If I cannot
perhaps turn the lock myself, I bring the key which can alone in the
end rightly open the door: the key of sincerity. That is my one
panacea: sincerity.
I know that many of my friends, people on whose side I, too, am to