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in human functions, such a co-ordination of ideas is entirely rational.
But with the development of culture the tendency is for this homogeneous
conception to be split up into two inharmonious tendencies. Even apart
from Christianity and before its advent this may be noted. It was,
however, to Christianity and the Christian ascetic spirit that we owe the
complete differentiation and extreme development which these opposing
views have reached. The condemnation of sexuality involved the
glorification of the virgin; and indifference, even contempt, was felt for
the woman who exercised sexual functions. It remained open to anyone,
according to his own temperament, to identify the typical average woman
with the one or with the other type; all the fund of latent sexual emotion
which no ascetic rule can crush out of the human heart assured the
picturesque idealization alike of the angelic and the diabolic types of
woman. We may trace the same influence subtly lurking even in the most
would-be scientific statements of anthropologists and physicians
It may not be out of place to recall at this point, once more,
the fact, fairly obvious indeed, that the judgments of men
concerning women are very rarely matters of cold scientific
observation, but are colored both by their own sexual emotions
and by their own moral attitude toward the sexual impulse. The
ascetic who is unsuccessfully warring with his own carnal
impulses may (like the voluptuary) see nothing in women but
incarnations of sexual impulse; the ascetic who has subdued his
own carnal impulses may see no elements of sex in women at all.
Thus the opinions regarding this matter are not only tinged by
elements of primitive culture, but by elements of individual
disposition. Statements about the sexual impulses of women often
tell us less about women than about the persons who make them.
The curious manner in which for men women become incarnations of
the sexual impulse is shown by the tendency of both general and
personal names for women to become applicable to prostitutes
only. This is the case with the words "garce" and "fille" in
French, "Maedchen" and "Dirne" in German, as well as with the
French "catin" (Catherine) and the German "Metze" (Mathilde).
(See, e.g., R. Kleinpaul, _Die Raethsel der Sprache_, 1890, pp.
At the same time, though we have to recognize the presence of
elements which color and distort in various ways the judgments of
men regarding women, it must not be hastily assumed that these
elements render discussion of the question altogether
unprofitable. In most cases such prejudices lead chiefly to a
one-sided solution of facts, against which we can guard.
While, however, these two opposing currents of opinion are of very ancient
origin, it is only within quite recent times, and only in two or three
countries, that they have led to any marked difference of opinion
regarding the sexual aptitude of women. In ancient times men blamed women
for concupiscence or praised them for chastity, but it seems to have been
reserved for the nineteenth century to state that women are apt to be
congenitally incapable of experiencing complete sexual satisfaction, and
peculiarly liable to sexual anesthesia. This idea appears to have been
almost unknown to the eighteenth century. During the last century,
however, and more especially in England, Germany, and Italy, this opinion
has been frequently set down, sometimes even as a matter of course, with a
tincture of contempt or pity for any woman afflicted with sexual emotions.
In the treatise _On Generation_ (chapter v), which until recent
times was commonly ascribed to Hippocrates, it is stated that men
have greater pleasure in coitus than women, though the pleasure
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