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The Sexual Question: A Scientific, Psychological, Hygienic and Sociological Study

My object is to study the sexual question under all its aspects: scientific, ethnological, pathological and social, and to seek the best solution of the numerous problems connected with it. Unfortunately, in publications dealing with this subject, eroticism usually plays a considerable part, and it is difficult for an author to abstract himself from this, for it is reflected unconsciously in his thoughts. As all sentiment, more or less, warps judgment, it is the duty of scientific criticism to eliminate eroticism in order to be exact and impartial. We shall, therefore, do all that is possible to free ourselves from it in the course of the present study. The sexual question is of fundamental importance for humanity, whose happiness and well-being depend largely on the best solution of this important problem. In dealing with such a delicate subject I shall endeavor to avoid narrow-mindedness and prejudice; I shall avoid tiresome quotations, and shall only employ technical terms when necessary, as they rather interfere with the comprehension of the subject. I shall take care to explain all those which appear to me indispensable. My opinions on the sexual question are based, on the one hand, on my scientific study of the human brain, and on the other hand on the long personal experience of an alienist who has devoted himself almost as much to normal mentality and questions of social hygiene as to pathological mentality. I have, however, been obliged to rely on the fundamental work of Westermarkwith regard to ethnology, this subject being strange to me. Concerning sexual psycho-pathology I have followed the classification of Krafft-Ebing. The sexual question is extraordinarily complex, and we cannot expect to find a simple solution for it as we can for the questions of alcoholism, slavery, torture, etc. The latter are solved in one word?suppression. Suppression of slavery and torture; suppression of the usage of alcoholic drinks. We are concerned here with ulcers artificially produced and preserved in human society; ulcers which must be simply extirpated. Their suppression is nothing but beneficial, since, far from being connected with the normal conditions of human existence, they place it in peril. Sexual instinct and sentiment, on the contrary, have their roots in life itself; they are intimately bound up with humanity, and therefore require quite a different treatment. But human society has guided them into false and pernicious ways. It is important to turn them from these in order to tranquilize and regulate their course by damming them up and canalizing them.