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.