One of the most pleasant aspects in the writing of this series of editorials on the social and sexual ills of society has been the response it has elicited from readers. Several hundred letters on The Playboy Philosophy come in each month from every part of the United States, and a number of foreign countries as well. We try to personally read just as much of this correspondence as possible, and the most interesting comments are published regularly in The Playboy Forum.
Whatever else they have to say, most of the correspondents are enthusiastic about the existence of these articles and the fact that a great many problems previously treated only superficially in the popular press are here, at last, being given full and open consideration.
Many who write, enclose books, articles and clippings on subjects related to those we have been discussing, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for this, for much of it has been quite useful as an additional source of research—giving us new facts and sometimes suggesting new areas that deserve attention.
A few weeks ago we received a volume in this way that is of such pertinence and interest that we’ve decided to devote this installment to a consideration of its contents. The book was sent to us by James Brooks of Homestead, Florida, who states that he found it in the hayloft of a barn. The binding is broken and worn, but it was obviously an impressive volume when first published, with a cloth cover and more than 500 pages.
The book is titled Plain Facts for Old and Young. It was written by J.H. Kellogg, M.D., and originally published by Segner and Condit of Burlington, Iowa, in 1879. It is a guide to sane sex life, as it was viewed in the United States in that period of extreme puritanism at the end of the last century. No amount of editorial comment by us can establish the excessive antisexuality that is our American heritage nearly so well as the statements to be found in this manual of love and marriage.
In the last two installments of the Philosophy (February and April), we discussed the irrational and suppressive sex laws of the United States, and a great many readers found it difficult to understand how such preposterous legislation could ever have been established in this supposedly free society. This book supplies the answer, for it documents the sexual sickness from which we suffered less than a century ago—many symptoms of which are still to be found in the supposedly enlightened society of today.
Before exploring the book, a few words about its author. John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., LL.D., F.A.C.S., was no hysterical, moralistic screwball, of the sort to be found in every age, but a highly respected, internationally renowned man of science, and the opinions on sex expressed in Plain Facts are representative of those held by a significant portion of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.
Dr. Kellogg resided in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was a member of the Michigan State Board of Health from 1878 to 1890 and from 1912 to 1916. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Surgeons, Royal Society of Medicine in England, and the National Geographic Society. He was a member of the American Public Health Association, the superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and the founder and president emeritus of Battle Creek College. On his death in December 1943, at the age of 91, he received tributes from Herbert Hoover, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Senator Vandenberg and Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy.
Dr. Kellogg was a prolific writer, producing more than 50 books in his lifetime, two of which had a circulation of over a million copies each; Plain Facts is listed in his obituary as one of the more important works. He wrote physiology texts that were used in public schools and founded and edited Good Health magazine. The good doctor was a health evangelist and a vegetarian, who was strongly opposed to the use of tobacco and alcohol. As we shall see, he was also strongly opposed to the use of sex.
With Dr. Kellogg’s avowed avoidance of so many earthly pleasures, even if he had not lived for nearly a century, it probably would have seemed that long. In abstaining from meat, tobacco, whiskey and women, the doctor must have had a lot of spare time on his hands and he apparently spent it in research. He is credited with the invention of corn flakes and peanut butter.
In a preface to Plain Facts for Old and Young, the author indicates that the purpose of the book is “to dispel the gross ignorance which almost universally prevails” regarding sex. Which, after a perusal of the volume’s contents, might seem intended as a bit of wry humor. In simple fact, the entire book would be outrageously funny if we gave no thought to the countless thousands who, in their search for some thoughtful, authoritative, helpful and humane words on the problems of sex, turned to this tome of ignorant gobbledygook and, believing what they read, suffered for a lifetime from the misunderstanding, guilt and shame of their own natural sexuality.
The copy of the book in our possession is not the first edition, and the author comments in the preface on the “warm reception” it had already received from both public and press: “The cordial reception which the work has met from the press everywhere has undoubtedly contributed in great measure to its popularity. The demand for the work has exhausted several editions in rapid succession, and has seemed to require its preparation in greatly enlarged and in every way improved form in which it now appears. The addition of two whole chapters for the purpose of bringing the subject directly before the minds of boys and girls in a proper manner, adds greatly to the interest and value of the work, as there seemed to be a slight deficiency in this particular in the former editions.”
Index to Sexual Enlightenment
Having been reassured in the introduction that the slight deficiency in former editions had been corrected in this one, we turned to the index. For a book devoted to the development of a happier, healthier sex life, authored by an eminent man of science, the subject headings are something less than reassuring. They include: Abortion…Afterbirth…Amaurosis…Amenorrhea…Antediluvian wickedness…Bad books…Bad company…Bad language…Balls, demoralizing influence of…Beer, evil effects of…Birth, changes at…Bladder, irritation of…Boarding-schools, danger of…Brain, male and female…Breasts, atrophy of the…Breath, causes of foul…Castration…Cider, evil effects of…Clitoris…Coitus…Colds, how to prevent…Cunjugal onanism…Constipation… Consumption…Continence…Copulation…Courtship…Criminality, hereditary…Dancing… Daydreams…Diet, influence on chastity…Divorce, loose laws on…Dozing, danger of…Dreams, how to control…Dress and sensuality…Dress reform…Drinks, stimulating…Drugs…Dwarfs… Dypepsia…Egypt a hot-bed of vice…Electricity…Epilepsy…Eyes, weakness of…Female organs…Fetus, respiration of…Filthy dreams…Filthy talkers…Flirtation, evils of…Flowers, polygamous…Foods, stimulating…Girls, how ruined…Gluttony…Heart disease… Hermaphrodism…Hymen…Hysteria…Idiocy, cause of…Idleness…Ignorance…Imbecility… Impotence…Infantcide…Insanity…Internal emissions…Intestinal worms…Labia, the…Labor… Libidinous blood…Licentiousness, results of…Literature, poisonous…Male organs…Mammary glands…Marital excesses…Marriage…Marriage, of cousins, of criminals, of paupers… Masturbation, prevention of, effects on females, effects on offspring…Menopause, the… Menstruation…Moderation…Modesty…Monsters…Mormonism…Navel, the…Nervous diseases…Nocturnal emissions…Novel-reading…Nursing…Nympomania…Obscene books… Obscenity…Ovary…Ovum…Paralysis…Passion, inherited…Penis, the…Pernicious books, influence of…Pictures, vile…Piles…Pimples…Poisonous literature…Polyandry…Polygamy… Precocity, sexual…Pregnancy…Prostate gland…Prostitution…Puberty…Quacks…Race degeneration, cause of…Religion, help of…Religious novels…Reproduction…Reproduction in the honey bee…Satyriasis…Scrotum, the…Secret Vice, evidences of, prevalence of, terrible effects of…Self-abuse, causes of, effects of, the signs of, results of, treatment of…Self-pollution…Seminal fluid, the…Senility…Sentimental literature, influence of…Sentimental young women…Sexual activity, the limit of…Social lepers, evil of, causes of, cure of…Solitary vice, alarming prevalence of, unsuspected cause of…Sterility…Suicide, cause of…Tea and coffee…Testicles…Thoughts, evil…Throat disease, cause of…Tobacco…Twins…Urinary disease…Vagina, the…Vision, dimness of…Waltz, the, its sensuality…Weak backs…Wine, evil effects of…Woman, servitude of… and, concluding the index on an upbeat note, Womb, cancer of the.
The Prevention of Puberty
In the very first chapter of his book, Dr. Kellogg establishes that he knew a good deal more about corn flakes than sex. After a brief description about the sex lives of plants and animals, with disappointingly little moralizing on the promiscuous behavior of the bees and flowers, he concludes that people are really grown-up plants: “In short, men and women are blossoms in a strictly scientific sense.” (Though he offers no explanation as to why some of us turn out to be snapdragons and others pansies.) There follows a scientifically accurate description of the structure and function of the human reproductive organs, and an explanation of fecundation, gestation and parturition, with the natural pain of childbirth caused, according to this eminent physician, by Original Sin in the Garden of Eden and the degeneracy of modern civilization: “Although the curse pronounced upon the feminine part of the race, in consequence of the sin of Eve, involves suffering in the parturient act, yet there is no doubt that the greater share of the daughters of Eve are, through the perverting and degenerating influences of wrong habits and especially of modern civilization, compelled to suffer many times more than their maternal ancestor.”
The arrival of puberty is viewed with something other than pleasure by Dr. Kellogg and he advises avoiding it as long as possible: “Habits of vigorous physical exercise tend to delay the access of puberty. For this reason, together with others, country boys and girls generally mature later than those living in the city by several months, and even a year or two. Anything that tends to excite the emotions hastens puberty. The excitements of city life, parties, balls, theaters, even the competition of students in school, and the various causes of excitement to the nervous system which occur in city life, have a tendency to hasten the occurrence of the change which awakens the sexual activities of the system into life. Hence, these influences cannot but be considered prejudicial to the best interests of the individual, mentally, morally, and physically, since it in every way desirable that a change which arouses the passions and gives to them greater intensity should be delayed rather than hastened.” (We must grudgingly admit that that is the most original argument we’ve ever heard for keeping ‘em down on the farm.) In addition to getting the hell out of the city, Dr. Kellogg indicates that diet can play an important part in delaying puberty and he advises against “stimulating food, such as pepper, vinegar, mustard, spices, and the condiments generally, together with tea and coffee, and an excess of animal food [meat].”
The doctor states that “in girls the occurrence of puberty is earlier in brunettes than in blondes"—a fact that the Clairol people have obviously failed to take into account, with their presumptuous advertising claim that blondes have more fun. The doctor adds: "In Jews the change is commonly a year or two in advance of other nationalities in this country. It also occurs somewhat sooner in Negroes and Creoles than in white persons….”
Dr. Kellogg dramatizes the importance of putting off puberty just as long as possible with this topper: “A fact which is of too great importance to allow to pass unnoticed is that whatever occasions early or premature sexual development also occasions premature decay. Females in whom puberty occurs at the age of ten or 12, by the time the age is doubled, are shriveled and wrinkled with age. At the time when they should be in their prime of health and beauty, they are prematurely old and broken. Those women who mature late retain their beauty and their strength many years after their precocious sister have become old, decrepit and broken down.” How’s that to scare the bejesus out of a youngster just entering into adolescence—a little item to make any boy or girl fear the arrival of the first signs of sexual maturity?!
And just where did kindly Doc Kellogg get this fascinating hypothesis, that he offers to “old and young” as statement of undisputed fact? Why, he made it up, of course. In actual fact, whatever correlation there may be between sexual precocity and the aging process operates as just the reverse of what Kellogg suggests. And in its extensive study of the sexual patterns of American males and females, the Institute for Sex Research of Indiana University found that those who are sexually precocious are also more inclined than the average to remain sexually active in the latter years of life. There is a considerable difference in the innate sex drives of various individuals, and it is the person with the weakest drive who is apt to reach sexual maturity latest and become sexually impotent earliest, as well as being less inclined to overall physical vigor and, therefore, more likely to succumb to the ravages of old age and senility.
Dr. Kellogg says, regarding sexual interests prior to puberty: “If raised strictly in accordance with natural law, children would have no sexual notions or feelings before the occurrence of puberty. No prurient speculation about sexual matters would enter their heads. Until that period, the reproductive system would lie dormant in its undeveloped state. No other feeling should be exhibited between the sexes than that brotherly and sisterly affection which is so admirable and becoming.” When sexual interests were observed in the young, Kellogg explained them as unnatural perversions caused by improper upbringing.
At the very same time that the doctor of Battle Creek, Michigan, was expounding these views, another doctor in Vienna named Sigmund Freud was beginning his study of human behavior that established the existence of natural sexuality in the youngest infants.
Chastity and Continence
Dr. Kellogg devotes a chapter apiece to chastity and continence and makes clear his conviction that all manner of ills will befall those of either sex, whose surrender to the desires of the flesh, who even think about surrendering.
“Mental unchastity” is, according to Kellogg, as serious as the act itself: “Though [a man] may never have committed an overt act of unchastity, if he cannot pass a handsome female in the street without, in imagination, approaching the secrets of her person, he is but one grade above the open libertine, and is truly unchaste as the veriest debauchee.
"Man may not see these mental adulteries, he may not perceive these filthy imaginings; but One sees and notes them. They leave their hideous scars upon the soul. They soil and mar the mind; and as the record of each day of life is photographed upon the books in Heaven, they each appear in bold relief, in all their innate hideousness.
"O purity! How rare a virtue! How rare to find a face which shows no trace of sensuality!
"Foul thoughts, once allowed to enter the mind, stick like the leprosy. They corrode, contaminate, and infect like the pestilence; naught but Almighty power can deliver from the bondage of concupiscence a soul once infected by this foul blight, this moral contagium.”
Kellogg warns his readers of the outcome of improper daydreams: “Those lascivious daydreams and amorous reveries, in which young people—and especially the voluptuous, and the sedentary and the nervous—are exceedingly apt to indulge, are often the sources of general debility, effeminacy, disordered functions, premature disease, and even premature death, without the actual exercise of the genital organs!”
The author discusses, in some detail, the causes of unchastity in modern civilization, which include:
Hereditary Predisposition—"A child conceived in lust can no more be chaste by nature than a Negro can be a Caucasian.“
Improper Upbringing—"The sexes should be carefully separated from each other at least as early as four or five years of age, under all circumstances which could afford opportunity for observing the physical differences of the sexes, or in any way to serve to excite those passions which at this tender age should be wholly dormant.”
Improper Diet—"Flesh, condiments, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, and all stimulants have a powerful influence directly upon the reproductive organs. They increase the local supply of blood, and through nervous sympathy with the brain, the passions are aroused. Overeating, eating between meals, hasty eating, eating indigestible articles of food, late suppers, react upon the sexual organs with the utmost certainty.“
Clerical Impropriety—"Our most profound disgust is justly excited when we hear of laxity of morals in a clergyman…. But when we consider how these ministers are fed, we cannot suppress a momentary disposition to excuse, in some degree, their fault. When the minister goes out to tea, he is served with the richest cake, the choicest jellies, the most pungent sauces, and the finest of fine-flour bread-stuffs. Little does the indulgent hostess dream that she is ministering to the inflammation of passions which may peril the virtue of her daughter, or even her own. Salacity once aroused, even in a minister, allows no room for reason or for conscience.”
Tobacco—"Few are aware of the influence upon morals exerted by that filthy habit, tobacco-using. When acquired early, it excites the underdeveloped organs, arouses the passions, and in a few years converts the once chaste and pure youth into a veritable volcano of lust, belching out from its inner fires of passion torrents of obscenity and the sulphurous fumes of lasciviousness. If long-continued, the final effect of tobacco is emasculine; but this is only the necessary consequence of previous super-excitation.“
Bad Books—"Another potent enemy of virtue is the obscene literature which has flooded the land for many years. Circulated by secret agencies, these books have found their way into the most secluded districts. Nearly every large school contains one of these emissaries of evil men and their Satanic master. Largely through the influence of Mr. [Anthony] Comstock, laws have been enacted which promise to do much toward checking this extensive evil, or at least causing it to make itself less prominent…. It is a painful fact however, that the total annihilation of every foul book which the law can reach will not affect the cure of this evil, for our modern literature is full of the same virus. It is necessarily presented in less grossly revolting forms, half concealed by beautiful imagery, or embellished by wit; but yet, there it is, and no law can reach it. The works of our standard authors in literature abound in lubricity. Popular novels have doubtless done more to arouse a prurient curiosity in the young, and to excite and foster passion and immorality, than even the obscene literature for the suppression of which such active measures have recently been taken. The more exquisitely painted the scenes of vice, the more dangerously enticing. Novel-reading has led thousands to lives of dissoluteness.”
Idleness—"To maintain purity, the mind must be occupied. If left without occupation, the vacuity is quickly filled with unchaste thoughts.“
Fashion—The fashionable dress of the women of the day leads to unchastity in two ways, according to Dr. Kellogg: "1. By its extravagance; 2. By its abuse of the body.” The latter, he notes, may “produce permanent local congestions, with ovarian and uterine derangements. These affections have long been recognized as the chief pathological condition in hysteria, and especially in that peculiar form of disease known as nymphomania, under the excitement of which a young woman, naturally chaste and modest, may be impelled to the commission of the most wanton acts. The pernicious influence of fashionable dress in occasioning this disorder cannot be doubted.”
Dancing - “In addition to the associated dissipation, late hours, fashionable dressing, midnight feasting, exposure through excessive exertions and improper dress, etc., it can be shown most clearly that dancing has a direct influence in stimulating the passions and provoking unchaste acts, and are in themselves violations of the requirements of strict morality, and productive of injury to both mind and body.”
Modern Modes of Life—"Superheated rooms, sedentary employments, the development of the mental and nervous organizations at the expense of the muscular, the cramming system in schools, too long confinement of schoolchildren in a sitting position, the allowance of too great freedom between the sexes in the young, the demoralizing influence of most varieties of public amusement, balls, church fairs, and other like influences too numerous to mention, all tend to lead in one direction, that of abnormal excitation and precocious development of sexual functions.“
Constipation—"In males, one of the most general physical causes of sexual excitement is constipation…. When this condition is chronic, as in habitual constipation, the unnatural excitement often leads to the most serious results. One of these is the production of a horrible disease, satyriasis [the male equivalent of nymphomania]…. Constipation in females has the same tendency, though the dangers are not quite so great. The irritation is sufficient, however, to lead to excitement of the passions.”
Intestinal Worms—"often produce the same result in children.“
The author lists, as Helps to Continence: The Will, Diet, Exercise, Cold Baths and Religion. Since he advises against early marriage, young men and women of normal sexual inclination are apt to need all of these, and then some, to remain as chaste in thought and deed as Kellogg asserts they should.
Courtship and Flirtation
Dr. Kellogg is hesitant about openly endorsing any of the social customs of foreign countries over those of America, lest this be taken as un-American by the 19th century equivalent of the John Birch Society, but he suggests that the "distinctly American custom” of courting can be a dangerous thing, leading to all manner of sexual excesses, and that perhaps the Old World tradition of keeping the sexes apart until they are ready for marriage is not such a bad idea.
He abhors the acceptance of flirtation, on the part of both sexes: “We cannot find language sufficiently emphatic to express proper condemnation of one of the most popular forms of amusement indulged in at the present day in this country, under the guise of innocent association of sexes…. We have not the slightest hesitation in pronouncing flirtation as pernicious in the extreme. It exerts a malign influence alike upon the mental, the moral, and the physical constitution of those who indulge it. The young lady who has become infatuated with a passion for flirting, courting the society of young men simply for the pleasure derived from their attentions, is educating herself in a school which will totally unfit her for the enjoyment of domestic peace and happiness…. More than this, she is very likely laying the foundation for lifelong disease by the dissipation, late hours, late suppers, evening exposures, fashionable dressing, etc., the almost certain accompaniments of the vice we are considering….
"It may be true, and undoubtedly is the case, that the greater share of the guilt of flirtation lies at the door of the female sex; but there do exist such detestable creatures as male flirts. In general, the male flirt is a much less worthy character than the young lady who makes a pastime of flirtation. He is something more than a flirt. In nine cases out of ten, he is a rake as well. His object in flirting is to gratify a mean propensity at the expense of those who are pure and unsophisticated. He is skilled in the arts of fascination and intrigue. Slowly he winds his coils about his victim, and before she is aware of his own real character, she has lost her own.
"Such wretches ought to be punished in a purgatory by themselves, made seven times hotter than for ordinary criminals. Society is full of these lecherous villains. They insinuate themselves into the drawing-rooms of the most respectable families; they are always on hand at social gatherings of every sort. They haunt the ballroom, the theater, and the church, when they can forward their infamous plans by seeming to be pious…. They are the sharks of society, and often seize in their voracious maws the fairest and brightest ornaments of a community. The male flirt is a monster. Every man ought to despise him; and every woman ought to spurn him as a loathsome social leper.”
Kellogg condemns all forms of sex outside of marriage, and says of it: “A vice that has become so great an evil, even in these enlightened times, as to defy the most skillful legislation, which openly displays its gaudy filthiness and mocks at virtue with a lecherous stare, must have its origin in causes too powerful to be ignored.”
Chief among these causes are: Libidinous Blood (“In no other direction are the effects of heredity to be more distinctly traced than in the transmission of sensual propensities. The children of libertines are almost certain to be rakes and prostitutes.”); Gluttony (“It is an observed fact that 'all liberties are great eaters or famous gastronomists.’”); Precocious Sexuality (any interest in sex whatever, prior to puberty); Fashion; Lack of Early Training and Sentimental Literature (“City and school libraries, circulating libraries, and even Sunday-school libraries, are full of books which, though they may contain good moral teaching, contain, as well, an element as incompatible with purity of morals as is light with midnight darkness. Writers for children and youth seem to think a tale of 'courtship, love, and matrimony’ entirely indispensable as a medium of conveying their moral instruction. Some of these 'religious novels’ are actually more pernicious than the fictions of well-known novelists who make no pretense to having religious instruction a particular object in view….”).
The doctor indicates that anyone who takes the trouble to examine the books of such a library will be able to select the most pernicious ones by their external appearance: “The covers will be well worn and the edges begrimed with dirt from much handling. Children soon tire of the shallow sameness which characterizes the 'moral’ parts of most of these books, and skim lightly over them, selecting and devouring with eagerness those portions which relate the silly narrative of some love adventure. This kind of literature arouses the children premature fancies and queries, and fosters a sentimentalism which too often occasions most unhappy results. Through their influence, young girls are often led to begin a life of shame long before their parents are aware that a thought of evil has ever entered their minds.”
Our friendly physician finds a direct correlation between “ignorance,” by which he apparently means lack of either intellect or knowledge, and sensuality. “As a general rule,” he says, “as the intellect is developed, the animal passions are brought into subjection.” He notes that “prostitutes come almost entirely from the more ignorant classes,” but fails to point out that the motivations of the prostitute are usually monetary rather than sexual.
The doctor offers this example of “ignorance” and sensuality from his personal experience: “… An idiot was brought before our medical class in a clinic at Bellevue Hospital, New York [where Dr. Kellogg received his medical degree]. The patient had been an idiot from birth, and presented the most revolting appearance, seemingly possessing scarcely the intelligence of the average dog; but his animal propensities were so great as to be almost uncontrollable. Indeed, he showed evidences of having been a gross debauchee, having contracted venereal disease of the worst form. The general prevalence of extravagant sexual excitement among the insane is a well-known fact.”
The results of licentiousness are, according to Dr. Kellogg, almost too horrible to relate, but he relates them—in glowing detail—just the same. The most fearsome result of sexual transgression is, of course, venereal disease—gonorrhea, chancroid and syphilis—which the doctor seems to view as a penalty properly befitting the crime of immorality: “Apparently as a safeguard to virtue, nature has appended to the sin of illicit sexual indulgence, as penalties, the most loathsome, deadly, and incurable diseases known to man.” It must have shook the doctor up a bit when modern medical science removed this “safeguard to virtue” by discovering simple cures for these diseases. The needless spread of venereal disease is now clearly caused by lack of public sex education, and those of Dr. Kellogg’s moral persuasion will have to search out other loathsome “penalties” to keep the sexual nature of man in check.
Apparently as naive on the subject of sex in animals as in humans, Kellogg erroneously reports: “Man is the only animal that abuses his sexual organization by making it subservient to other ends than reproduction; hence he is the only sufferer from this foul disease, which is one of the penalties of such abuse.”
Nonprocreative sex play of every sort, heterosexual and homosexual, is common among the higher forms of infrahuman animal life; it is only the lower animals in whom sexual desire coincides with ovulation in the female. A fact which prompted Dr. N. Papania to observe, in a letter in last month’s Playboy Forum: “One must therefore conclude that having sexual relations for reproduction alone is bestial, not vice versa.”
Kellogg’s second conclusion—that venereal disease is somehow related to man’s subverting sex to ends other than reproduction—is an example of deductive reasoning that completely escapes us. For these diseases are transmitted equally, whether the sex act is engaged in for purposes of reproduction or solely for pleasure. The tiny microorganisms involved display, in truth, a distressing lack of interest in the moral intent of the individuals engaged in sexual congress.
Dr. Kellogg seems determined to compound his scientific error on this subject, for the next he discusses the “Origin of the Foul Disease,” wherein he makes the most incredible medical misstatement of all: “Where or when the disease originated is a mystery. It is said to have been introduced into France from Naples by French soldiers. That it originated spontaneously [emphasis ours] at some time can scarcely say be doubted, and that it might originate under circumstances of excessive violation of the laws of chastity is rendered probable by the fact that gonorrhea, or an infectious disease exactly resembling it, is often caused by excessive indulgence, from which cause it not infrequently occurs in the newly married, giving rise to unjust suspicion of infidelity on both sides.”
In Kellogg’s simple view of sensuality, “Prevention is the Only Cure.” He writes, “Those who have once entered upon a career of sensuality are generally so completely lost to all sense of purity and right that there is little chance of reforming them. They have no principle to which to appeal. The gratification of lust so degrades the soul and benumbs the higher sensibilities that a votary of voluptuousness is a most unpromising subject for reformatory efforts.”
In this, the doctor is essentially correct, though his explanation as to why it is so reveals more personal prejudice than scientific objectivity. What he is really saying, beneath the intemperate tirade, is that most individuals who engage in sex prior to marriage do not, as has often been assumed, regret the experience. He’s right, they like it; and, in the majority of cases, if they had it to do over again, they would do the same as before—probably quicker.
Modern sex research confirms this fact: Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his associates report that relatively few of those persons, of either sex, who have premarital intercourse express any unhappiness about the experience afterward.
A person’s chastity may seem quite important until the decision is made to give it up; after which, it seems much ado about nothing.
When to Wed
The overly optimistic reader of Plain Facts might have anticipated an end to all this sexual negation with the taking of a spouse. Not a bit of it! Dr. J.H. Kellogg’s approach to sex is just as severe and joyless within the bounds of matrimony as without. And this general truth about Puritan antisexualism is something the casual observer of American sex mores fails to realize: that in restrictive sexual attitudes that persist in our present-day society have their origins in a puritanical period of a few decades ago in which all sexual interest and desires were considered depravity inspired by the Devil.
Kellogg counsels against early marriage—not for the sound social or psychological reasons that might be advanced for such an idea—but as another means of putting off the ugly business of sex just as long as possible.
Since he precludes the possibility of premarital sex in the morally upright, the postponement of marriage means the postponement of sex, and he underscores this point by offering a fascinating physiological explanation of why women should never contemplate marriage before the age of 24. “Physiology,” he says, “fixes with accuracy the earliest period of which marriage is admissible. This period is that at which the body attains complete development, which is not before 20 for the female, and 24 in the male. Even though the growth may be completed before these ages, ossification of the bones is not fully effected, so the development is incomplete.”
This prominent American medical authority then proceeds to explain why it is hazardous and foolhardy to contemplate marriage before your bones are fully ossified. Under the heading, “Application of the Law of Heredity,” the doctor states, “A moment’s consideration of the physiology of heredity will disclose a sufficient reason why marriage should be deferred until the development of the body is wholly complete. The matrimonial relation implies reproduction…. The perfection of the new being [offspring], then must be largely dependent on the integrity and perfection of the sexual elements [of the parents]. If the body [of either parent] is still incomplete, the reproductive elements must also be incomplete; and, in consequence, the progeny must be equally immature.”
Since Dr. Kellogg devotes several pages elsewhere in this guide to sexual happiness to describing in some detail the assorted monsters, cretins, dwarfs and Mongolian idiots that are sometimes sired by seemingly normal parents, the reader is not forced to depend upon his own meager imaginings in contemplating what the immature, incomplete, or not fully developed child of too-young parents might be like.
Premature sex is equally harmful to the participating couple, the doctor goes on to explain, and he enumerates:
“1. During the development of the body, all its energies are required in perfecting the various tissues and organs. There is no material to be spared for any foreign purpose. [And it must be clear now that for Dr. J.H. Kellogg, nothing is so "foreign” as sex.]
“2. The reproductive act is the most exhaustive of all vital acts. Its effect upon an undeveloped person is to retard growth, weaken the constitution, and dwarf the intellect.
"3. The effects upon the female are even worse than those upon the male; for, in addition to the exhaustion of nervous energy, she is compelled to endure the burdens and pains of child-bearing when utterly unprepared for such a task, to say nothing of her unfitness for the other duties of a mother. With so many girl-mothers in the land, is it any wonder that there are so many thousands of unfortunate individuals who never seem to get beyond childhood in their development? Many a man at 40 years is as childish in mind, and as immature in judgment, as a well-developed lad of 18 would be. They are like withered fruit plucked before it was ripe; they can never become like the mellow and luscious fruit allowed to mature properly. They are unalterably molded; and the saddest fact of all is that they will give their children the same imperfections; and the children will transmit them to another generation, and so the evil will go on increasing, unless check by extinction.”
At this point the thoroughly shaken young man and maid, yet contemplating matrimony in granddad’s day, might have set aside their copies of Plain Facts and wondered, half aloud (to themselves, of course, for one would never have considered reading a book on such a subject in the presence of the opposite sex), whether the early 20s was really long enough to delay—perhaps it would be wiser to wait, well, with the picture Dr. Kellogg has been painting, perhaps indefinitely….
Kellogg offers no reassuring word to offset such fears in the innocent. The best he can manage additionally on the subject of premature marriage is: “It is probable that even the ages of 20 and 24 are too early for those persons whose development is uncommonly slow.” After digesting this book, the development of a great many was slowed appreciably. It takes far less than this to instill in the impressionable the seeds that will one day produce the bitter fruits of impotence and frigidity.
The chapter devoted to wedded bliss is titled, in Kellogg’s customary upbeat fashion, “Marital Excesses.” The author commences this section with the declaration: “It seems to be a generally prevalent opinion that the marriage ceremony removes all restraint from the exercise of the sexual functions.” He devotes the rest of the chapter to tearing this supposition to shreds.
Dr. Kellogg gives us this cheery appraisal of humankind: “Man, in whatever condition we find him, is more or less depraved. This is true as well of the most cultivated and refined ladies and gentlemen of the great centers of civilization, as of the misshapen denizens of African jungles, or the scarcely human natives of Australia and Tierra del Fuego. His appetites, his tastes, his habits, even his bodily functions are perverted.” In many respects, the doctor concludes, civilized man is the most perverted of all.
Man demonstrates his depravity, according to the author, whenever he engages in sex for anything but reproduction. Reproduction is normally possible at only one time of the month—in the middle of the female menstrual cycle—and that, proclaims Dr. J.H. Kellogg, M.D., L.L.D., F.A.C.S., is the only time in which sexual intercourse between husband and wife is proper, natural and moral.
He then proceeds to “prove” this statement—not, he assures us, on the basis of morality or “theory,” but by relying solely on “established physiological facts by quotations from standard medical authors….” To do this, he incorrectly presupposes that what is natural in the lower animals must also be natural in man, relying upon “standard medical authors” as misinformed on animal behavior as he; or, as in the example below, basing erroneous conclusions on accurate data.
Kellogg quotes John C. Dalton, whom he describes as “one of the most distinguished and reliable of modern physiologists,” adding, “the facts which he states being confirmed by all other physiologists.” Dalton says: “'It is a remarkable fact that the female of these animals will allow the approaches of the male only during and immediately after the oestrual period; that is, just when the egg is recently discharged, and ready for impregnation. At other times, when sexual intercourse would be necessarily fruitless, the instinct of the animal leads her to avoid it; and the concourse of the sexes is accordingly made to correspond in time with the maturity of the egg and its aptitude for fecundation.’”
What Dalton states is true; what Kellogg concludes from the statement is entirely false. The phenomenon described by Dalton is true only in the lower forms of animal life, where the sex act is dependent almost entirely upon instinct. It is not true if any of the primates, including man. But Kellogg proceeds as though it were.
He is thus able to reach the following faulty conclusions:
“1. The fact that in all animals but the human species the act can be performed only when reproduction is possible, proves that in the animal kingdom in general the sole object of the function is reproduction.
"2. The fact that the males of other animals besides man in which the sexual organs are in a state of constant development do not exercise those organs except for the purpose of reproduction is proof of the position that the constant development in man is not a warrant for their constant use.
"3. The general law that the reproductive act is performed only when desired by the female is sufficient ground for supposing that such should be the case with the human species also.”
And having concluded that it is the woman alone who properly establishes the time for coitus, Kellogg adds to this comedy of errors the statement: “This desire for sexual congress naturally exists in the female only at or immediately after the time of periodical development.”
Kellogg knew full well that a great many women desire sex at other times besides the middle of their menstrual cycle, when impregnation is most likely to occur (on or about the 14th day, in an average 28-day cycle, beginning from the first day of menstruation). But he was careful to insert the word “naturally” in his statement, and any examples of feminine sexual appetite at other times of the month were damned as unnatural, immoral, and a further evidence of human depravity.
Sex is for procreation, not for pleasure, concludes the doctor, evidencing a most unpleasant bedside manner; and modesty and chastity are just as important within the marriage bower as elsewhere. It becomes clear in this chapter that Dr. Kellogg actually considers all sex evil; marital sex, rigidly restrained, is a necessary evil for the reproduction of the race, but an evil nevertheless.
He quotes approvingly another writer whom he does not name, who states: “It is a common belief that a man and woman, because they are legally united in marriage, are privileged to the unbridled exercises of amativeness. This is wrong. Nature, in the exercise of her laws, recognizes no human enactments, and is as prompt to punish any infringement of her laws in those who are legally married, as in those out of the bonds. Excessive indulgence between the married produces as great and lasting evil effects as in the single man or woman, and is nothing more or less than legalized prostitution.’ ”
Results of Excess on Husbands
Kellogg next sets down some of the hair-raising results of “marital excess” (too frequent sexual intercourse)—upon husbands, wives, and their unborn children.
He observes that “the principal blame in this matter properly falls upon the husband; but it cannot be said that he is the greatest sufferer; however, his punishment is severe enough to clearly indicate the enormity of the transgression, and to warn him to a reformation of his habits.”
The author then quotes “an eminent medical authority,” whom he also fails to identify. (Through the reference to “life-giving fluid” in the quotation brought to mind a character in the film Dr. Strangelove, we dismissed the association as meaningless.) The anonymous authority states: “'Any warning against sexual dangers would be very incomplete if it did not extend to the excesses often committed by married persons in ignorance of their ill effects. Too frequent emissions of the life-giving fluid, and too frequent excitement of the nervous system are, in themselves, most destructive. The result is the same within the marriage bond as without it. The married man who thinks he can commit no excess, however often the act of sexual congress is repeated, will suffer as certainly and as seriously as the unmarried debauchee who acts on the same principles in his indulgences….
” 'The shock on the system each time connection is indulged in is very powerful.’“ according to this "eminent medical authority,” and “the expenditure of seminal fluid must be particularly injurious….’” He credits these as the causes of “'premature old age, many forms of indigestion, general ill health, hypochondriasis, etc., so often met with adults….’”
Kellogg quotes Dr. William Acton, a Victorian antisex crusader and prominent English surgeon, whose statements appear frequently throughout the book. Dr. Acton adds to the already dismal domestic scene, as follows: “'It is not the body alone which suffers from excesses committed in married life. Experience every day convinces me that much of the languor of mind, confusion of ideas, and inability to control the thoughts, of which some married men complain, arise from this cause.’”
Kellogg has already established, as we have noted, that undue sensuality may cause spontaneous venereal disease in husband and wife; sexual abuse in marriage is also “a very potent cause of throat disease,” says the doctor; and a major cause of consumption—"this fatal disease finds a large share of its victims among those addicted to sexual excesses….“
Dr. Kellogg adds this postscript from his personal medical experience: "A case came under our observation in which the patient, a man, confessed to having indulged every night for 20 years. We did not wonder that at 40 he was a complete physical wreck.”
Results of Excess on Wives
The doctor’s descriptions of depraved domesticity become more extravagant as he expounds on the evil effects of sexual excess upon wives, and he here seems to be truly warming to his subject: “If husbands are great sufferers, as we have seen, wives suffer still more terribly, being of feebler constitution, and hence less able to bear the frequent shock which is suffered by the nervous system.”
Dr. Kellogg describes a female patient who came to him for treatment suffering from “the serious effects of the evil named.” In the author’s words, “She presented a great variety of nervous symptoms, prominent among which were those of mild hysteria and nervous exhaustion, together with impaired digestion and violent palpitation of the heart.”
Under the heading “Legalized Murder,” Kellogg relates the following story, “the counterpart of which,” he says, “almost anyone can recall having occurred within the circle of acquaintance; perhaps numerous cases will be recalled by one who has been especially observing.”
Dr. Kellogg then tells his tale: “A man of great vital force is united to a woman of evenly balanced organization. The husband, in exercise of what he is pleased to term his 'marital rights,’ places his wife, in a short time, on the nervous, delicate, sickly list. In the blindness and ignorance of his animal nature, he requires prompt obedience to his desires; and, ignorant of the law of right in this direction, thinking that it is her duty to accede to his wishes, she allows him passively, never lovingly, to exercise daily and weekly, month in and month out, the low and beastly habit of his nature, and eventually, slowly but surely, to kill her. And this man, who has as surely committed murder as had the convicted assassin, lures to his net and takes unto him another wife, to repeat the same program of legalized prostitution on his part, and sickness and premature death on her part.” Having shed a tear or two for the victims in this sexual soap opera, while privately admiring the prowess of the husband, we attempted to recall a counterpart of the incident within our own circle of acquaintances, as Dr. Kellogg suggested, but without success; the wives of our friends are apparently made of sterner stuff. We must confess, in fact, that when we really concentrated on the matter, we couldn’t even come up with a similar occurrence from outside our circle of acquaintances. In simple truth, we were hard put to name a single female of our acquaintance who couldn’t take on any male of our acquaintance, if she had a mind to, and turn him into a hospital case in less than a year.
A certain amount of the pain and suffering that the author attributes to “sexual excesses” was probably real enough, for in such a Puritan period, with so much guilt and shame associated with the normal sexual appetite and the act of sex itself, we would expect to find numerous cases of impotence and frigidity, and the emotional hysteria and hypochondria that can produce all the symptoms of a variety of physical disorders. The symptoms were caused by sexual repression, however, and not by sexual excess.
Results of Excess on Offspring
Scientific insight disappears almost completely when Dr. Kellogg describes the effects of marital licentiousness upon the hereditary makeup of offspring. The doctor states, “That those guilty of the transgression should suffer, seems only just; but that an innocent being who had no part in the sin – no voice in the time or manner of its advent into the world – that such a one should suffer equally, if not more bitterly, with the transgressors themselves, seems anything but just. But such is nature’s inexorable law, and the inequities of the parents shall be visited upon the children; and this fact should be a most powerful influence to prevent parental transgression, especially in this direction, in which the dire consequences fall so heavily and so immediately upon an innocent being.”
Too frequent indulgence in sexual intercourse results in an inferior grade of egg and sperm, according to Kellogg, which in turn produces an inferior offspring when impregnation occurs. The doctor writes, “Breeders of stock who wish to secure sound progeny will not allow the most robust stallion to associate with mares as many times during the whole season as some of these salacious human males perform a similar act within a month. One reason why the offspring suffer is that the seminal fluid deteriorates very rapidly by repeated indulgence. The spermatozoa do not have time to become maturely developed. Progeny resulting from such immature elements will possess the same deficiency. Hence the hosts of deformed, scrofulous, weazened and idiotic children which curse the race, and testify to the sensuality of their progenitors. Another reason is the physical and nervous exhaustion which the parents bring upon themselves, and which totally unfits them to beget sound, healthy offspring.”
The doctor also does his best to discourage a couple from taking any pleasure in the act, since a child conceived in lust is certain to have an abnormally sensual nature – “its lower passions will as certainly be abnormally developed as peas will produce peas, or potatoes produce potatoes. If a child does not become a rake or a prostitute, it will be because of uncommonly fortunate surroundings, or a miracle of divine grace.”
A single immoral thought on the part of either parent “at the critical moment when life is imparted, may fix for eternity a foul blot upon a character yet unformed.”
Sex During Pregnancy
Sexual intercourse during pregnancy is especially dangerous, the doctor insists. “Transgressions of this sort are followed by the worst results of any form of marital excess. The mother suffers doubly, because laden with the burden of supporting two lives instead of one. But the results upon the child are especially disastrous. During the time when it is receiving its stock of vitality, while its plastic form is being molded, and its various organs acquiring that integrity of structure which makes up what is called constitutional vigor–during this most critical of all periods in the life of the new being, its resources are exhausted and its structure depraved–and thus constitutional tendencies to disease produced–by the unnatural demands made upon the mother.”
Sex during pregnancy also results in an abnormally sex-inclined infant: “One of the most certain effects of sexual indulgence at this time is to develop abnormally the sexual instinct of the child. Here is the key to much of the origin of much of the sexual precocity and depravity which curse humanity. Sensuality is born in the souls of a large share of the rising generation. What wonder that prostitution flourishes in spite of Christianity and civil law?”
For good measure, Kellogg adds this quote from Dr. J.R. Black: “'Coition during pregnancy is one of the ways in which the predisposition is laid for that terrible disease in children, epilepsy.”
Sex during menstruation is, for the most author, unthinkably loathsome, and a “heinous violation of nature’s laws. He states, "Reason and experience both show that sexual relations at the menstrual period are very dangerous to both man and woman, and perhaps also for the offspring, should there chance to be conception. The woman suffers from the congestion and nervous excitement which occur at the most inopportune moment possible. Man may suffer physical injury, though,” Kellogg adds reassuringly, “there are no grounds for the assertions of Pliny that the menstrual blood is so potent for evil that it will, by mere touch, rust iron, render a tree sterile, make dogs mad, etc., or that of Paracelsus that 'of it the Devil makes spiders, fleas, caterpillars, and all the other insects that people the air.’”
Sexual intercourse is as unnatural in the old as in the young, according to Kellogg; he writes, “As with childhood, old age is a period which the reproductive functions are quiescent unless unnaturally stimulated. Sexual life begins with puberty, and in the female, ends at about the age of 45 years, the period known as menopause, or turn of life. At this period, according to the plainest indications of nature, all functional activity should cease. If this law is disregarded, disease, premature decay, possibly local degenerations, will be sure to result. Nature cannot be abused with impunity.”
“The proper limit of man’s functional activity” is, according to Kellogg, 50; and it is exceedingly dangerous for man to extend his sex life longer, for it may result in early senility and death. In addition, states the author, “When the passions have been indulged, and their diminishing vigor stimulated, a horrid disease, satyriasis, not infrequently seizes upon the imprudent individual, and drives him to the perpetration of the most loathsome crimes and excesses. Passions cultivated and encouraged by gratification through life will thus sometimes assert a total supremacy in old age.”
Abnormal Sex, Birth Control & Abortion
All forms of nonprocreative sex play are considered, by the doctor, to be heinous crimes against nature, too abominable to deserve space in his book. He states, “We have at our disposition numerous facts which rigorously prove the disastrous influence of abnormal coitus to the woman, but we think it is useless to publish them. All practitioners have more or less observed them, and it will only be necessary for them to call upon their memories to supply what our silence leaves.”
The doctor observes, however, that the use of various popular pharmaceutical and mechanical methods of birth control are as much a crime against nature as any act of sexual perversion. He states, “We hear a good deal about certain crimes against nature, such as pederastry and sodomy, and they meet with the indignant condemnation of all the right-minded persons. The statutes are especially severe on offenders of this class, the penalty being imprisonment between one and ten years, whereas fornication is punished by imprisonment for not more than 60 days and a fine less than $100. But the query very pertinently arises just here as to whether the use of the condom and defertilizing injections is not equally a crime against nature, and quite as worthy of our detestation and contempt.”
Dr. Kellogg considers the use of such contraceptive measures as a form of abortion and deems all abortion to be murder. He is most emotionally emphatic on this point, stating: “Is it immoral to take a human life? Is it a sin to kill a child? Is it a crime to strangle an infant at birth? Is it a murderous act to destroy a half-formed human being in its mother’s womb? Who will dare to answer 'No’ to one of these questions? Then who can refuse assent to the plain truth that it is equally a murder to deprive of life the most recent product of the generative act?
Thus does Dr. Kellogg complete his full-rounded of sexual abstinence in marriage. The chaste are pure, for the sexual inclinations of man are surely the inspiration of Satan himself, introduced on this earth to tempt the weak and the unwary, and leading to an indescribable assortment of diseases and deaths in this world, and to eternal damnation in the next.
We know nothing of the life of Mrs. J.H. Kellogg, but it could not have been a very satisfying physical union. We can only hope that she developed a taste for the peanut butter sandwiches that were the inspiration of one of her husband’s more inventive moments, since he displays such an aversion to assuaging any other sort of bodily appetite. If this personal aside seems unjustly snide, please consider the countless thousands of young couples whose chances for marital happiness were diminished or actually destroyed, because one or both of them read and believed Dr. Kellogg’s book of Puritan perversion. What naive maid could consider the act of love with anything but repugnance and fear after digesting the contents of this volume; how many wives found frigidity in its pages and how many husbands derived a lifetime of sexual guilt and even impotence there? The number is incalculable. And since this book is but a single, all too typical example of the antisexual thinking of the time, it is only to be wondered that our present society is not more severely sexually suppressed than it is.
The Solitary Vice
It will come as no surprise to the student of psychosexual pathology that Dr. J.H. Kellogg saves for his last and most damning condemnation, the act of masturbation. As we have already discussed in previous installments of this editorial series, the sexually disturbed individual first fixes his fears and guilt on his own earliest sexual inclinations. Taboos against masturbation invariably play an important part in the moral dogma of the person or the society that is suffering from serious sexual repression.
We commented upon the disproportionate emphasis given to masturbation in the restrictive "penitential books” of the medieval Church (The Playboy Philosophy, August 1963). Dr. Kellogg devotes almost half his Plain Facts for Old and Young to the subject. The chapter titled “Solitary Vice” is the longest in the book.
The doctor states: “If illicit commerce of the sexes is a heinous sin, self-pollution, or masturbation, is a crime doubly abominable. As a sin against nature, it has no parallel except in sodomy (see Genesis 19:5, Judges 19:22).”
Both of these Biblical references are to sodomy and not, as might be assumed by the reader, to masturbation. The Bible contains no prohibition regarding masturbation; although, as we have previously discussed, the story of Onan (Genesis 38:9) has frequently been misinterpreted as a condemnation of this act, adding to our language the word onanism, as a synonym for masturbation. The story of Onan actually concerns the breaking of an ancient Judaic law of property, that required a man to impregnate the widow of deceased brother, so that there would be a heir, and the property of the family would remain the family; according to the story related in Genesis, Onan failed to do this, so the Lord slew him. The medieval Church misinterpreted this and several other portions of the Scriptures, including Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, to support the antisexual attitude of the Church in the Middle Ages.
“This vice is the most dangerous of all sexual abuses,” Dr. Kellogg observes, “because it is the most extensively practiced. The vice consists in any excitement of the genital organs produced otherwise than in the natural way [by which the doctor means, of course, sexual intercourse for the purpose of reproduction]. It is known by the terms self-pollution, self-abuse, masturbation, onanism, manustupration, voluntary pollution, solitary or secret vice, and other names sufficiently explanatory.”
The doctor is convinced that any person performing the act senses, without ever having been told, that it is immoral. He states, “Even though no warning may have been given, the transgressor seems to know, instinctively, that he is committing a great wrong, for he carefully hides his practice from observation. In solitude he pollutes himself, and with his own hand blights all his prospects for both this world and the next. Even after being solemnly warned, he will often continue this worse than beastly practice, deliberately forfeiting his right to health and happiness for a moment’s mad sensuality.”
Actually, the association of sex with guilt and shame begins for the infant when he is first chastised by his parent for the natural exploration and manipulation of his genitals, which he early discovers to be the source of physical pleasure; this negative association then spreads, with his later development, to other areas of sex and pleasure. There is, of course, no harm in masturbation whatsoever – physical, mental, or emotional, and it is practiced by almost everyone, at one time or another; the harm lies in associating the act with ideas of perversion or sin.
Dr. Kellogg offers a helpful guide to those interested in recognizing the evil in others. Under the heading “Suspicious Signs,” he states, “The following symptoms, occurring in the mental and physical character and habits of a child or young person, may well give rise to grave suspicions of evil, and should cause parents or guardians to be on the alert to root it out if possible: General debility, coming upon a previously healthy child, marked by emaciation, weakness, an unnatural paleness, colorless lips and gums, and the general symptoms of exhaustion…; Early symptoms of consumption; Premature and defective development; Sudden change in disposition; Lassitude; Sleeplessness; Failure of mental capacity; Fickleness; Untrustworthiness; Love of solitude; Bashfulness; Unnatural boldness; Mock piety; Easily frightened; Confusion of ideas; Round shoulders; Weak backs; pain in the limbs, and stiffness of the joints; Paralysis; Lack of development of the breasts in females after puberty…: Capricious appetite; Eating clay, slate-pencils, plaster, chalk, and other indigestible articles is a practice to which girls who abuse themselves are especially addicted; The use of tobacco; Acne or pimples; Biting the fingernails; Lack of luster and natural brilliancy in the eyes; Habitually moist, cold hands; Palpitation of the heart; Hysteria; Epileptic fits; Wetting the bed; [and] Unchastity of speech….”
Having done his best, in the previous chapter, to destroy the loving relationship between the husband and wife, Dr. Kellogg now sets about tearing down the mutual respect, trust and admiration that should exist between parent and child. Here is the doctor’s warmhearted plan for parental detection of self-abuse in their children: "If a child is noticed to seek a secluded spot with considerable regularity, he should be carefully followed and secretly watched, for several days in succession if need be. Many children pursue the practice at night after retiring. If the suspected one is observed to become very quickly quiet after retiring, and when looked at appears to be asleep, the bedclothes should be quickly thrown off under some pretense. If, in case of a boy, the penis is found in a state of erection, with the hands near the genitals, he may certainly be treated as a masturbator without any error. If he is found in a state of excitement, in connection with other evidences, with a quickened circulation as indicated by the pulse, or in a state of perspiration, his guilt is certain, even though he may pretend to be asleep; no doubt he has been addicted to the vice for a considerable time to have acquired so much cunning. If the same course is pursued with girls, under the same circumstances, the clitoris will be found congested, with the other genital organs moist from increased secretion.”
For the parent or guardian turned inquisitional investigator, the author offers another clue: “Stains upon the night-shirt or sheets, occurring before puberty, are certain evidences of the vice in boys….” The doctor adds, “If any attempt is made to watch the child, he should be so carefully surrounded by vigilance that he cannot possibly transgress without detection. If he is only partially watched, he soon learns to elude observation, and thus the effect is only to make him cunning in his vice.” The habit may be cured in children “by admonishing them of its sinfulness, and portraying in vivid colors its terrible results….” In addition, “he should not be left alone at anytime, lest he yield to temptation. Work is an excellent remedy; work that will really make him very tired, so that when he goes to bed he will have no disposition to defile himself. It is best to place such a child under the care of a faithful person of older years, whose special duty it shall be to watch him night and day until the habit is thoroughly overcome.”
In younger children, with whom moral considerations will have no particular weight, Kellogg suggests “tying the hands,” or “bandaging the parts,” or “covering the organs with a cage.” He also suggests circumcision, as “a remedy that is almost always successful in small boys…. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment….”
In adults, or youths, a different plan must be pursued, according to the doctor. “In these cases, moral considerations, and the inevitable consequences to health of body and mind, are the chief influences by which a reform is to be effected, if at all. These considerations may be urged with all possible eloquence and earnestness, but should not be exaggerated.” [Emphasis ours.] “The truth,” says the doctor, “is terrible enough.”
If there are any special influences which may be brought to bear upon a particular individual – and there always will be something of this sort owing to peculiarities of temperament or circumstances – these should be promptly employed and applied in such a manner as to secure them their full bearing.“ The results of masturbation include, according to Dr. Kellogg, impotency in the male, sterility in the female, urinary diseases, dyspepsia, throat affections, heart disease, diseases of the nervous system, epilepsy, cancer, idiocy, suicide, insanity and piles.
What Dr. Kellogg chooses to describe as "the truth” is, as he puts it, “terrible enough!”
Since every sign of man’s sexual nature may become repugnant to one sufficiently perverted and negatively obsessed with his subject, it should come as no surprise to find that this learned man of medicine is ever concerned with involuntary nocturnal emissions.
“That an individual may suffer for years an involuntary seminal loss as frequently as once a month without apparently suffering very great injury,” says Dr. Kellogg, “seems to be a settled fact with physicians of extensive experience and is well confirmed by observation; yet there are those who suffer severely from losses no more frequent than this. But when seminal losses occur more frequently than once a month, they will certainly ultimate in great injury, even though immediate ill effects are not noticed….”
As Kellogg correctly states, for a change, “The masturbator knows nothing of this disease, so long as he continues his vile practice. But,” he adds, “when he resolves to reform, and ceases to defile himself voluntarily, he is astonished and disgusted to find that the same filthy pollutions occur during his sleep without his voluntary participation.”
Nocturnal emissions have two primary causes, according to Kellogg, “local irritation and lewd thoughts.” Sexual thoughts are just as harmful to a person when he is sleeping as when he is awake, the doctor explains. But, curiously enough, the doctor considers emissions unaccompanied by dreaming as the most serious sort. “At first,” he says, “the emissions are always accompanied by dreams, the patient usually awakening immediately afterward; but after a time they take place without dreams and without awaking him, and are unaccompanied by sensation. This denotes a greatly increased gravity of the complaint.”
Students of Freud will be interested in Kellogg’s comments under the heading: “Can Dreams Be Controlled?” The doctor answers his own query: “Facts prove that they can be to a remarkable extent.” Kellogg offers the case history of “an Italian gentleman of great respectability,” as an illustration of what can be accomplished in the dream department with “strong resolution.” The Italian gentleman had, it seems, “been inconvenienced five years before with frequent emissions, which totally unnerved him. He determined resolutely that the very instant the image of a woman or any libidinous idea presented itself to his imagination, he would wake; and to ensure his doing so, dwelt in his thoughts on his resolution for a long time before going to sleep. The remedy, applied by a vigorous will, had the most happy results. The idea, the remembrance of its being a danger, and the determination to wake, closely united the evening before, were never dissociated even in sleep, and he awoke in time; and this reiterated precaution, repeated during some evenings, absolutely cured of the complaint.”
Since Freud has established that dreams actually provide a necessary and healthful “escapehatch” for many ideas that might otherwise play havoc in our subconscious minds, this little game of dream-control, wholeheartedly recommended by the author, might be expected to produce all manner of psychic ills. If the thought, which we do not care to consciously accept, is not permitted to escape – either directly, or in some disguised form – in a dream, it will be repressed. And then the psychopathological fun begins!
Dr. Kellogg offers a number of suggestions for “curing” nocturnal emissions, including the avoidance of stimulating food and drink; sleeping on one’s side, rather than on the back or abdomen (as an aide to this, he suggests fastening “a piece of wood upon the back” or “tying one hand to the bedpost”); avoiding soft beds and pillows; and arising immediately upon waking in the morning “if it is after four o'clock.”
This concern over nocturnal emissions again reminds us of the penitentials of the Dark Ages, which prescribed the penance for an involuntary nocturnal emission as rising promptly, and reciting seven penitential psalms, with an additional 30 in the morning.
Dr. Kellogg states that the eventual outcome of nocturnal emissions is impotence.
There is a certain pathetic irony in the fact that the last few pages of his chapter on self-abuse and nocturnal emissions are devoted to a warning against soliciting advice in this subject from “quacks.” Under a section with that title, Dr. Kellogg says, “Never consult a quack. The newspapers abound with lying advertisements of remedies for diseases of this character. Do not waste time and money in corresponding with the ignorant, unprincipled charlatans who make such false pretensions…. Consult only some well-known and reliable physician in whom you have confidence. If your physician treats the matter lightly, and advises marriage as a means of cure, you will not judge him harshly if you decide that although he may be thoroughly competent to treat other diseases, he is ignorant of the nature and proper treatment of this….
Do not despair of ever recovering from the effects of past transgression, and plunge into greater depths of sin. Persevering, skillful treatment will cure almost every case…. Every sufferer from sexual disease must make up his mind to live, during the remainder of his life, as closely in accord with the laws of life and health as circumstances under his control will allow him to do.”
A Final Word for Boys & Girls
Dr. Kellogg concludes Plain Facts for Old and Young with a final “Chapter for Boys” and a “Chapter for Girls.” It comes as no surprise to find that these are devoted, almost in their entirety, to additional warnings against the evils of masturbation.
Under the heading “Self-Murderers,” the author states, “Of all the vices to which human beings are addicted, no other so rapidly undermines the constitution and so certainly makes a complete wreck of an individual as this, especially when the habit is begun at an early age. It wastes the most precious part of the blood, uses up the vital forces, and finally leaves the poor victim a most utterly ruined and loathsome object. If a boy should be deprived of both hands and feet and should lose his eyesight, he would still be infinitely better off than the boy who for years gives himself up to the gratification of lust in secret vice….”
The doctor offers an illustrative case history especially written for his younger reader, under the title “Two Young Wrecks”: “Charles and Oscar B_______ were the sons of a farmer in a Western state, aged respectively ten and 12 years. They possessed well-informed heads, and once had beautiful faces, and were as bright and sprightly as any little boys of their age to be found anywhere. Their father was proud of them, and their fond mother took great pleasure in building bright prospects for her darling sons when they should attain maturity and become competent to fill useful and honorable positions in the world….
"But suddenly certain manifestations appeared which gave rise to grave apprehensions on the part of the parents. It was observed that the elder of the little boys no longer played about with that nimbleness which he had formerly shown, but seemed slow and stiff in his movements. Sometimes, indeed, he would stagger a little when he walked. Soon, also, his speech became in some degree; he mumbled his words and could not speak distinctly. In spite of all that could be done, the disease continued, increasing in all its symptoms from week to week. Soon the hands, also, became affected, so that the little boy could not feed himself. The mind now began to fail. The bright eyes became vacant and expressionless. Instead of the merry light which used to shine in them, there was a blank, idiotic stare. "Imagine the grief and anguish of the poor mother! No one but a mother who has been called to pass through a similar trial could know how to sympathize with such a one. Her darling son she saw daily becoming a prey to a strange, incurable malady, with no power even to stay the progress of the terrible disease.
"But there was still greater grief in store for her. Within a year or two the younger son began to show symptoms of the same character, and in spite of all that was done, rapidly sank into the same helpless state as his brother. As a last resort, the mother took her boys and came a long journey to place her sons under our care. At the time they were both nearly helpless. Neither could walk but a few steps. They reeled and staggered about like drunken men, falling down upon each other and going through the most agonizing contortions in attempts to work their way from one chair to another and thus about the room. Their heads were no longer erect, but drooped like wilted flowers. On their faces was a blank, imbecile expression, with a few traces of former intelligence still left. The mouths were still open, from the drooping of the lower jaws, and the saliva dribbled upon the clothing. Altogether, it was a spectacle which one does not care to meet every day; the impression made was too harrowing to be pleasant even for its interest from a scientific point of view.
"We at once set to work to discover the cause of this dreadful condition, saying to ourselves that such an awful punishment should certainly be the result of some gross violation of nature’s laws somewhere. The most careful scrutiny of the history of the parents of the unfortunate lads gave no clue to anything of an hereditary character, both parents having come of good families, and having been always of sober, temperate habits. The father had used neither liquor nor tobacco in any form. The mother could give no light on the matter, and we were obliged to rest for the time being upon the conviction which fastened itself upon us that the pair were most marked illustrations of the results of self-abuse begun at a very early age. The mother thought it impossible that our suspicions could be correct, saying that she had watched her sons with jealous care from the earliest infancy and had seen no indications of any error of the sort. But we had not long to wait for confirmation of our view of the case, as they were soon caught in the act, to which it was found that they were greatly addicted, and the mystery was wholly solved.”
Although for Dr. Kellogg, “the mystery was wholly solved,” he was unable to follow his remarkable diagnosis with any sort of cure, and the boys eventually returned home with their mother, where they lived out their remaining years thus afflicted, and eventually died.
The author devotes a considerable portion of these last two chapters to similar case histories. A young man, referred to as M.M., was the son of a mechanic and of humble circumstances. “Good school advantages were given him, and at a proper age he was put to learn a trade. He succeeded fairly, and his parents’ hopes of his becoming all that they could desire were great, when he suddenly began to manifest peculiar symptoms. He had attended a religious revival and seemed much affected, professing religion and becoming a member of the church. To the exercises of his mind on the subject of religion his friends attributed his peculiar actions, which soon became so strange as to excite grave fears that his mind was seriously affected. At times he was wild, showing such unmistakable evidences of insanity that even his poor mother, who was loth to believe the sad truth, was forced to admit that he was deranged…
"In this condition was the young man when he came under our care. We felt strongly impressed from our first examination of the case that it was one of sexual abuse [which prompts us to observe that this immediate diagnostic insight seems remarkably like what a psychiatrist might consider as a case of projection, on the part of Dr. Kellogg] but we were assured by his friends in the most emphatic manner that such was an impossibility. It was claimed that the most scrupulous care had been bestowed upon him, and that he had been so closely watched that it was impossible that he should have been guilty of so gross of a vice. His friends were disposed to attribute his sad condition to excessive exercise of [his] mind upon religious subjects. [Which prompts us to observe that the patient’s friends display more psychiatric acumen than the sanitarium’s chief physician.]
"Not satisfied with this view of the case, we set a close watch upon him, and within a week his nurse reported that he had detected him in the act of self-pollution, when he confessed the truth, not yet being so utterly devoid of sense as to have lost his appreciation of the sinfulness of the act. [Which prompts us to observe that this is one of the most incredible examples of diagnostic technique we have ever read.]
"When discovered in the act of self-abuse, the patient exclaimed, 'I know I have made myself a fool,’ which was the exact truth.”
Dr. Kellogg wasn’t able to do anything to help this patient either, which appears to be something of a recurring theme, where the cases of “excessive sexual abuse” are concerned. The doctor reports, “At our suggestion the young man was removed to an institution devoted to the care of the imbeciles and lunatics. The last we heard of the poor fellow, he was still sinking in the lower depths of physical and mental degradation – a soul utterly lost and ruined. How many thousands of young men who might have been useful members of society – lawyers, clergymen, statesmen, scientists – have thus sunk into the foul depths of the quagmire of vice, to rise no more forever! Oh, awful fate! The human eye never rests upon a sadder sight than a ruined soul, a mind shattered and debased by vice.”
Oh, physician, heal thyself!
A last case history, and we are done with Dr. J.H. Kellogg forevermore. “A case came to our knowledge through a gentleman who brought his daughter to us for treatment for the effects of selfabuse,” Kellogg reports, “of a father who adopted a summary method of curing his son of the evil practice. Having discovered that the lad was a victim of the vile habit, and having done all in his power by punishment, threats, and representations of its terrible effects, but without inducing him to reform, the father, in a fit of desperation, seized the sinful boy and with his own hand performed upon him the operation of castration as he would have done upon a colt. The boy recovered from the operation, and was, of course, effectively cured from his vile habit. The remedy was efficient, though scarcely justifiable. Even a father has no right thus to mutilate his own son, though we must confess that the lad’s chances for becoming a useful man are fully as good as they would have been had he continued his course of sin.”
Our Antisexual Heritage
We haven’t devoted an entire installment of this editorial to Dr. J.H. Kellogg and his book simply to describe the twisted antisexuality of a single individual, or a single volume of his writings. We have given the space to thus extended consideration of Plain Facts for Old and Young because it serves as a classic case study of Puritan America at the end of the last century.
As we stated at the beginning of this article, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was not an insignificant crackpot, whose irrational sexual rantings can be dismissed as of little consequence. Dr. Kellogg was a highly respected member of the medical profession, who held a number of important positions in his lifetime, who was affiliated with a number of influential medical associations, and whose words on any aspect of medical science carried considerable authority and import.
Under the circumstances, the pathological aversion to sex evidenced throughout the more than 500 pages of Plain Facts might be viewed as ample proof of the disturbed psyche of its author. In actual fact, however, the book is an accurate reflection of the guilt-and-shame-infested culture in which it was produced. If there is sickness in this sexual treatise, it is less the sickness of a single individual than a symptom of an entire sick society.
But this book was not written in the Old World during the Dark Ages; it was written here in the United States less than 100 years ago. The antisexual attitude expressed in this worn volume are typical of that severe puritanical period; the irrational intermixing of science, Scripture and superstition is typical, too.
It may be argued, with validity, that the fact most dramatically demonstrated by the naive nature of Dr. Kellogg’s book is how much we have learned from Darwin, Freud, Kinsey, and others, regarding both the physical and psychological makeup of man, since the 19th century. But though our scientific insights have increased a thousandfold, our society’s mores and laws are still rooted in the sterile soil of puritanism.
We still suffer, in this supposedly enlightened time, from taboos and guilts regarding sexual behavior that are directly derived from the almost total antisexuality of the late 1800s, so enthusiastically depicted in Kellogg’s chronicle. It is hardly significant that the taboos have been somewhat tempered and the guilts become less grave, in the fourscore years between; the irrational restrictions and repressions still exist, and the difference in his world and ours is only a matter of degree – not reason replacing superstition.
We devoted the two previous installments of The Playboy Philosophy to current U.S. sex laws, and can only conclude that these statutes, in all 50 states, are as unreasoned and unreasonable today as when Dr. Kellogg first put pen to paper. The American Law Institute proposed a Model Penal Code for sex offenses almost a decade ago, but no state has yet adopted this recommendation for more lenient legislation; our sex statutes are still based more on puritanism than psychiatry, more on religious morality than scientific insight.
Many Americans do not realize that censorship in this country commenced in the 19th century – mostly in its last three puritanical decades – and was previously all but unknown here. Thomas Jefferson wrote, in 1814, “I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a cook can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offense against religion; that a question like this can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion?”
With our Puritan heritage, it is no surprise that when censorship came to our supposedly free society, it centered upon the literature and art that dealt with sex. In a memorable debate in the U.S. Senate in 1835, Clay, Calhoun and Webster declared that the government of the United States should never be involved in an act of censorship; and in the same year a visitor from France, Alexis de Tocqueville, reported “Attempts have been made by some governments to protect the morality of nations by prohibiting licentious books. In the United States no one is punished for this sort of work.”
But in 1842 Congress passed a Tariff Act that forbade the importation of “obscene books or pictures into the United States”; and in 1865 another federal law was passed prohibiting the transmission of objectionable materials through the mails. “But there was one saving grace in these laws,” wrote Ernest Sutherland Bates. “It never occurred to anyone apparently that they should be enforced. And then around 1870 the lid was clamped down. Censorship spread over the land like a prairie fire.”
Anthony Comstock, the most infamous and influential censor in American history, was at his bluenosed, book-burning peak when Dr. J.H. Kellogg wrote Plain Facts, and the doctor commends Comstock for his censorship activities, and quotes him in several places, in his own remarkable volume of antisex. Comstock founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in 1873, and the same year secured the passage of the so-called Comstock Laws from the U.S. Congress that made the interstate dissemination of “immoral” art and literature a serious federal offense; Comstock also managed to get himself appointed as a special, nonsalaried investigator for the post office, and in that position caused the conviction of countless persons, reportedly destroyed 160 tons of allegedly obscene literature and nearly 4 million pictures.
H.L. Mencken, noted American editor, author and social critic, wrote: “The story of the passage of the Act of Congress of March 3, 1873, is a classical tale of Puritan impudence and chicanery. Ostensibly…the new laws were designed to put down traffic [in obscenity] which, of course, found no defenders – but Comstock had so drawn them that their actual sweep was vastly wider, and once he was firmly in the saddle, his enterprises scarcely knew limits….
"In carrying on this war of extermination upon all ideas that violated their own private notions of virtue and decorum, Comstock and his followers were very greatly aided by the vagueness of the law. It prohibited the use of the mails for transporting all matter of 'obscene, lewd, lascivious…or filthy’ character, but conveniently failed to define these adjectives. As a result…it was possible to bring an accusation against practically any publication that aroused the Comstockian blood-lust.”
Publisher Bernarr MacFadden wrote, shortly after Comstock’s death: “I propose to add to a dictionary that is already too long the word comstock; its meaning will be apparent to everyone. If you associate dirt, filth and obscenity with an idea, a picture, a statue, or anything, why – you simply comstock it.”
The U.S. censorship laws and their vigorous enforcement, established by Anthony Comstock in that Puritan period, are still very much with us today. And it has only been within the past decade that American literature and art have made any serious attempt to throw off the shackles of censorship placed upon them by Comstock and his followers at the end of the last century.
Puritanism was still so dominant a force in America less than 50 years ago that, from 1919 to 1933, the entire nation suffered under the enforced Prohibition established by Congress with the 18th Amendment; and several states still suffer under various forms of Prohibition today. National Prohibition, known as the “Noble Experiment,” was almost certainly the most corrupting legislation ever established in the United States; it made criminals out of honest men, and drunkards out of sober ones. It stands as a monument to the evil that can result when man attempts to establish by governmental edict what should rightfully be a matter of personal choice.
Abraham Lincoln said prophetically, in a speech before the Illinois House of Representatives, in 1840: “Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”
And H.L. Mencken responded to the “Noble Experiment” with a quotation from the Bible: “There is crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.”– Isaiah 24:11.
In the mid-Twenties, the Puritan concept of theocratic control of the state became a national issue with the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial” in Tennessee. A young biology teacher was put on trial for introducing Darwin’s theory of evolution to his classes, because a state law specifically prohibited the teaching of any theory of the origin of man that was not in strict accordance with a literal interpretation of the Bible. The case caused a sensation because Christian fundamentalist William Jennings Bryan went to Dayton, Tennessee, to assist the local prosecutor; and the American Civil Liberties Union persuaded Clarence Darrow, the most famous trial lawyer of his generation, to appear for the defense. The judge’s rulings made it impossible for Darrow to plead the real issues in the case and teacher Scopes was found guilty on a technicality; but Darrow managed to get Bryan on the stand as an expert witness on the Scriptures, and subjected him to a devastating cross-examination on his Puritan beliefs, regarding the conflict between science and the Bible, that made Bryan, and the Tennessee court, the laughingstocks of the nation. It was an experience from which Bryan never recovered; he died of a stroke five days after the trial ended.
If the “Monkey Trial” appears to be little more than a piece of quaint Americana from out of the past, we must inform our readers that there exists – at this very moment in the state of Arizona – a serious Puritan attempt to petition the legislature to pass an antievolution law, just like the one they had in Tennessee in the Twenties.
And how really different are the church-state considerations in the case of the biology teacher Scopes in 1925 and those of biology teacher Koch in 1960? Professor Leo F. Koch (pronounced “Cook”) was dismissed from the faculty of the University of Illinois four years ago for responding to an editorial on student sex habits in the Daily Illini with a letter in which he stated: “With modern contraceptives and medical advice readily available at the nearest drugstore, or at least from a family physician, there is no valid reason why sexual intercourse should not be condoned among those sufficiently mature to engage in it without social consequences and without violating their own codes of morality and ethics.” The campus paper published his letter and the university promptly fired him.
A few months ago another professor at the University of Illinois, Revilo P. Oliver, whose first name is his last name spelled backward because, according to some of his colleagues, “he doesn’t know if he is coming or going,” gained national attention with an article he authored for American Opinion, the magazine of the John Birch Society, in which he referred to the recently assassinated John F. Kennedy as “a valuable agent of the international Communist conspiracy.”
The powers that be at the university, which happens to be our own alma mater, simply clucked disapprovingly at Professor Oliver’s intemperate and ill-timed remarks, but concluded that his rather extreme political views did not hamper his ability as a teacher. Not so with Professor Koch; he got the boot!
Oliver was accorded his right to free expression, because all he did was call President Kennedy a traitor; Koch lost his right, because he did something far worse – he questioned our Puritan concept of sexual morality. That is obviously the one excess that lies outside the protections given to free expression in our free society.
Professor Koch touched the heart of the matter himself, with an all-too-prophetic passage in his letter that none of the major newspapers or wire services bothered to include in their stories on his dismissal: “The…important hazard is that a public discussion of sex will offend the religious feelings of the leaders of our religious institutions. These people feel that youngsters should remain ignorant of sex for fear that knowledge of it will lead to temptation and sin.”
And that is precisely what happened. Several churchmen voiced vigorous protests, and biology professor Koch got the old heave ho! He might have faired better at the University of Chicago, where, we understand, the Student Health Service hands out prescriptions for oral contraceptives to undergraduate coeds, married or unmarried, on request – on the not altogether irrational premise that if a girl is sufficiently interested to come in and ask for the prescription, she is probably going to engage in sex, with or without it.
The Puritan would argue that it is immoral to give such a prescription to a single girl – presumably in the severe and inhumane belief that the girl should be made to pay for her sin with pregnancy. The true moralist, we believe, would take a more considered and considerate view – recognizing that giving the prescriptions to the girls who request them is in the best interests of the girls themselves, and that this, after all, should be the deciding factor.
A Cleveland court decision recently projected the puritanical viewpoint in a similar situation: A mother was found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for giving her underage daughter instructions in birth control, after the daughter had given birth to three illegitimate children in as many years.
And here we have the crystallization of his moral dilemma – as real, as important, and as controversial today, as it was in the time of Dr. J.H. Kellogg.
The puritanical believe that their concept of sexual morality should be forced upon the rest of society through strict social taboos and governmental legislation. Those of us who believe in a free society – whatever our personal religious and moral convictions – believe that each individual in a democracy has a right to worship God in his own way, and follow the moral dictates of his own particular religion, or those that lie within his own heart, just as long as they do not encroach upon the personal rights of others.
By offering, in this installment of The Playboy Philosophy, a dissection of the extreme Puritan antisexuality that has existed in America over the past century, it should be easier to understand whence come the severe sexual restrictions still to be found in the society of the Sixties.