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Voorkant Moll 'The sexual life of the child' Albert MOLL
The sexual life of the child
The Macmillan Company, 1912; 355 blzn.; Engelse vertaling door Eden Paul van Das Sexualleben des Kindes uit 1909

(v) Introduction (Edward L. Thorndike)

"It would be evasive to shirk mention of the fact that many of the most devoted servants of health and morals object to public discussion of the facts of sex. They discard enlightenment about sex as relatively unimportant because a clean ancestry, decency in the family and neighborhood, and noble needs in friendship, love, and marriage must, in any case, be the main roots of healthy direction and ideal restraint of the sex-instinct. Or they fear enlightenment as a possible stimulus to undesirable imagination and experimentation. Or they dislike, even abhor, it as esthetically repulsive—shocking to an unreasoned but cherished craving for silence about these things—a craving which the customs of our land and time have made an unwritten law of society."(viii)

(ix) Preface

"Further advances in our knowledge of the sexual life can be effected only by the investigation of special problems. Such work is, indeed, laborious; but that it is also fruitful, has been clearly shown, not only in the first instance by von Krafft-Ebing, but more recently, above all, by Havelock Ellis, whose special studies have contributed more to the advance of sexual science than the work of dozens of other writers."(xi)

"By all these considerations I have been induced to study the problem of the sexuality of children from the most widely different points of view. Although other writers, such as Freud, Bell, and Kötscher, have contributed certain data towards the solution of these questions, no comprehensive study of the subject has hitherto been attempted."(xii)

(1) Chapter I - Introductory and historical

Moll waarschuwt al voor de vertekeningen in wat volwassenen beschrijven als herinneringen aan seksuele ervaringen in hun jeugd. Methode is een probleem, het is heel moeilijk om seksuele ervaringen van kinderen te 'pakken'.

"Nor is observation in any way adapted to furnish us with a clear picture of the sexual life of the child. So little can be directly observed, that in the absence of reports much would remain entirely unknown. From the moment when the children gain a consciousness, however obscure, of the nature of sexual processes, they almost invariably endeavour to conceal their knowledge as much as possible, so that we shall discover its existence only by a rare chance. None the less, the results of direct observation are often important; sometimes because we are able to watch children when they are unaware of our attention, and sometimes because they do not as yet fully understand the nature of the processes under observation, and for this reason are less secretive."(6)

"Thus we see that all our methods of investigation exhibit extensive lacunæ, and further, that they are all in many respects fallacious; we shall therefore endeavour to supplement each by the others, in order to arrive at results which shall be as free from error as possible. Thus guided, we learn that sexual incidents occur in childhood far more frequently than is usually supposed. So common are they, that they cannot possibly escape the notice of any practising physician or educationalist who pays attention to the question, provided, of course, that he enjoys the confidence of the parents. These latter have often been aware of such sexual manifestations in their children for a long time, but a false shame has prevented them from asking the advice of the physician."(6-7)

Volgt een historisch overzicht van het ontstaan van het thema. Veel van de genoemde auteurs waren bezig met het bestrijden van masturbatie en zo bij kinderen, stonden dus negatief tegenover seksuele verlangens en ervaringen en handelingen van kinderen.

"Many works on prostitution also touch on our chosen subject. Parent-Duchâtelet, in his great book, refers to girls who had become prostitutes at the ages of twelve or even ten years. I shall show later that in individual instances such early prostitution is directly dependent upon the sexuality of the children concerned. Many ethnological works also contribute to our knowledge of the sexual life of the child, describing, as they do, in certain races, the early awakening of sexual activity."(9)

"In his various books, and above all in his six volumes entitled Studies in the Psychology of Sex (F. A. Davies Company, Philadelphia, Pa.), as a part of his general contributions to our knowledge of the sexual life, Havelock Ellis records numerous observations relating to the years of childhood; especially valuable in this connexion are the biographies given in the third volume of the above-mentioned Studies."(15)

(17) Chapter II - The sexual organs - The sexual impulse

Niet samengevat.

(33) Chapter III - Sexual differentiation in childhood

[Ik ben wel benieuwd naar de waarden die Moll er op na houdt in zijn weergaves. Seksuele organen worden tot nu toe wel erg in verband gebracht met coïtus en het lijkt er op dat hij masturbatie geen goede zaak vindt. Maar goed. Van de andere kant is hij bloednuchter bezig met feiten en ziet hij ook de culturele invloeden. Zoals hier:]

"However this may be, it is beyond question that during the earlier years of the first period of childhood the differences between the sexes are comparatively trifling. But towards the end of this period, sexual differentiation becomes more marked. According to Stratz, it is at this time that the characteristic form of the lower half of the body develops. The thighs and the hips of the young girl exhibit a somewhat more marked deposit of fat than is seen in the boy of the same age. To a lesser extent the same is true of the calves. It is often assumed that even in very early childhood the sexes can be distinguished by the formation of the face. The girl’s face is said to be rounder and fuller than the boy’s; the expression of countenance in the former, to be more bashful and modest. Stratz, however, urges in opposition to this view, with justice, in my opinion, that we have here to do only with the effects of individual educational influences, or perhaps with individual variations, from which no general conclusions can safely be drawn."(35)

"Thus, Sibson states that the characteristic costal type of respiration begins in girls at the age of ten, for which reason some observers have assumed that the wearing of the corset is the cause of its appearance; others, however, among whom Hutchinson may be mentioned, deny this alleged causal connexion, stating that they have observed costal respiration in young girls who have never worn any constricting garments. Unquestionably, sexual differences in the type of respiration become apparent in the later years of childhood."(37)

"As children become physically differentiated in respect of sex, so also does a mental differentiation ensue. Authorities are not agreed as to whether mental sexual differentiation exists in the very earliest years of life. Many assume its existence, and profess to have observed sexual differences even in the movements of quite small children. On the other hand, it is urged that the alleged differences are made up out of chance, auto-suggestion on the part of the observer, and the results of education. There is, however, general agreement as to the fact that during the second period of childhood mental differences become apparent between the sexes. Such differences are observed in the matter of occupation, of games, of movements, and numerous other details. Since man is to play the active part in life, boys rejoice especially in rough outdoor games. Girls, on the other hand, prefer such games as cor- respond to their future occupations. Hence their inclination to mother smaller children, and to play with dolls. (...)

In all kinds of ways, we see the little girl occupying herself in the activities and inclinations of her future existence. She practises housework; she has a little kitchen, in which she cooks for herself and her doll. She is fond of needlework. The care of her own person, and more especially its adornment, are not forgotten. I remember seeing a girl of three who kept on interrupting her elders’ conversation by crying out “New clothes!” and would not keep quiet until these latter had been duly admired. The love of self-adornment is almost peculiar to female children; boys, on the other band, prefer rough outdoor games, in which their muscles are actively employed, robber-games, soldier-games, and the like. And whereas, in early childhood, both sexes are fond of very noisy games, the fondness for these disappears earlier in girls than in boys."(38-39)

[En daar zie je dan toch ook weer de beperkingen: natuurlijk zit daar ook de cultuur op de achtergrond. En degenen die het allemaal met elkaar eens zijn hierover zijn vast allemaal mannen in die tijd. Overigens geeft Moll wel steeds netjes de meningsverschillen tussen onderzoekers aan of de gebrekkigheid van bepaalde methoden van onderzoek.]

"Without further discussing the question, to what extent in earlier generations there has been any cultivation of psychical differences, I believe that we are justified in asserting that at the present time the sexual differentiation manifested in respect of quite a number of psychical qualities is the result of direct inheritance. It would be quite wrong to assume that all these differences arise in each individual in consequence of education. It does, indeed, appear to me to be true that inherited tendencies may be increased or diminished by individual education; and further, that when the inherited tendency is not a very powerful one, it may in this way even be suppressed. Observations on animals which exhibit sexual differentiation very early in life, also support the notion of the inherited character of certain tendencies; for instance, the movements of male animals often differ from those of the females of the same species.

We must not forget the frequent intimate association between structure and function. This well-proved connexion would lead us a priori, from the more powerful muscular development of boys, to infer the different inclinations of the two sexes. Rough outdoor games and wrestling thus correspond to the physical constitution of the boy. So, also, it is by no means improbable that the little girl, whose pelvis and hips have already begun to indicate by their development their adaptation for the supreme functions of the sexually mature woman, should experience obscurely a certain impulsion towards her predestined maternal occupation, and that her inclinations and amusements should in this way be determined. Many, indeed, and above all the extreme advocates of women’s rights, prefer to maintain that such sexually differentiated inclinations result solely from differences in individual education: if the boy has no enduring taste for dolls and cooking, this is because his mother and others have told him, perhaps with mockery, that such amusements are unsuited to a boy; whilst in a similar way the girl is dissuaded from the rough sports of boyhood. Such an assumption is the expression of that general psychological and educational tendency, which ascribes to the activity of the will an overwhelmingly powerful influence upon the development of the organs subserving the intellect, and secondarily also upon that of the other organs of the body. By the influence of the will, it is supposed by this school, certain association-tracts in the brain are developed; or at least certain tracts hitherto functionally inactive are rendered functionally active. We cannot dispute the fact that in such a way the activity of the will may, within certain limits, be effective, especially in cases in which the inherited tendency thus counteracted is comparatively weak; but only within certain limits. Thus we can understand how it is that in some cases, by means of education, a child is impressed with characteristics normally foreign to its sex; qualities and tendencies are thus developed which ordinarily appear only in a child of the opposite sex. But even though we must admit that the activity of the individual may operate in this way, none the less are we compelled to assume that certain tendencies are inborn. The failure of innumerable attempts to counteract such inborn tendencies by means of education throws a strong light upon the limitations of the activity of the individual will; and the same must be said of a large number of other experiences."(42-44)

(50) Chapter IV - Symptomatology

"The data recorded in the preceding chapter suffice to show that the activity of the sexual life begins in childhood, for the secondary sexual characters and the other sexual peculiarities which manifest themselves thus early in life are dependent upon sex. We shall now proceed to the systematic description of the direct manifestations of the sexual life, and we can most usefully begin with the genital organs."(50)

[Niet nieuw, want al door Freud geconstateerd: erecties en vrouwelijke tekenen van opwinding zijn bij kinderen zonder meer mogelijk. Er is van alles dat dat kan stimuleren. Kinderen neigen er ook toe 'te krabben waar het jeukt', m.a.w.: de prettige gevoelens te herhalen.]

"In contradistinction to the cases just described, in which the child has learned spontaneously to practise artificial stimulation of his genital organs, are the cases in which seduction by others is the cause of masturbation. Nurses sometimes touch, stroke, and stimulate the external genital organs of the children entrusted to their care—boys and girls alike—either to keep them quiet, or for the gratification of their own lustful feelings. In this way the child, who in the case of all agreeable sensations has a natural desire for their repetition, is gradually led to imitate the manipulations which have given rise to the voluptuous sensations, and is thus seduced to the practice of masturbation."(51-52)

[Ook allerlei vormen van afscheiding zijn niet vreemd, vaak ook gepaard gaand met spiersamentrekkingen zoals bij een orgasme. Of er ook sprake is van een erotisch lustgevoel is moeilijk objectief vast te stellen bij kinderen, maar het kan niet ontkend worden dat alle tekenen van opwinding en orgasmes voorkomen. Aldus Mols. Een ander meer emotioneel aspect - door Mols de 'contrectation impulse' genoemd - is dat kinderen gek kunnen zijn op allerlei personen als waren ze verliefd en daar ook lijfelijkheid aan vast koppelen, nog ongedifferentieerd naar sekse.]

"Beyond question, in the great majority of cases, the “perverse” sentiments of childhood subsequently disappear spontaneously. But when I come to discuss sexual perversions in detail, I shall point out that this disappearance, in certain circumstances, fails to occur."(62)

"But, speaking generally, we shall find that to the child, no less than to the adult, in sexual relationships beauty is by no means indifferent. A pretty girl is more attractive to a boy than an ugly one. A handsome master will charm a girl much more than one who is ill-favoured or deformed. Other qualities besides beauty affect the issue. Effeminate boys or tomboyish girls are apt to be repulsive to other children; they are exposed to mockery and teasing of all kinds, and are very unlikely to give rise to erotic sentiments in their companions."(70)

[Daar lijken me ook wat waarden in zitten die niet bewust zijn doordacht.]

"The child’s sexual inclination may manifest itself in many different ways. It seeks every opportunity of seeing, of being in close proximity to, of touching, and of kissing the beloved person."(73)

"The sense of shame makes its appearance in childhood Havelock Ellis and others indeed deny this, pointing out how readily shyness is mistaken for the sense of shame. The error is common enough, but it certainly does not apply to all cases, for even in childhood we often enough encounter distinct manifestations of the sexual sense of shame. I shall not here discuss the question to what extent this sense is innate and to what extent acquired, since the matter will come up for consideration in a later part of this book."(77-78)

"In the child, the moods of the amatory sentiment are exceedingly variable. To-day, the love may be romantic in character; to-morrow, on the other hand, rather sensual. To-day, a girl is enamoured of some friend of her father’s; to-morrow, she is in love with some little friend of her brother’s, or with one of her schoolmasters. A little later, a member of her own sex becomes the object of passion, a girl-friend of her own, or some actress of note. In general, especially, too, when the stage of the undifferentiated impulse has not been well-marked, we notice that as the years pass the inclination gradually comes to relate to older persons."(79)

"On the whole, however, the amatory manifestations of childhood are of brief duration. Separation at first gives rise to spiritual pain, but this is as a rule soon forgotten; similarly when the beloved one is snatched away by death, the child’s grief is not enduring. Commonly such painful emotions speedily pass away; and whether the parting is due to death or to other causes, a new passion is apt shortly to replace the old. In exceptional cases, however, the death of the beloved one, or separation otherwise effected, may, even in the child, lead to suicide or to severe nervous disturbances."(80)

[Over de verschillen tussen jongens en meisjes op dit punt:]

"In so far as in what has gone before I have described the individual processes, there appear to be no important differences between the boy and the girl, over and above those dependent upon the different structure of the genital organs in the respective sexes. But one notable difference must now be indicated. Just as in adult life in the female sex sexual anæsthesia is very frequently observed, so that in coitus the specific voluptuous sensation is wanting, and indeed often enough the impulse to coitus itself is actually in abeyance (whereas in men the sexual impulse and sexual pleasure are very rarely absent), so also in the case of children a similar difference between the sexes is conspicuous. In female children the peripheral processes of the sexual impulse are, comparatively speaking, far less active than in the case of males. Thus it happens that, although in the girl the phenomena of the contrectation impulses are hardly, if at all, less conspicuous than they are in the boy, and appear at as early an age in the former as they do in the latter, yet in respect of detumescence there is an important distinction between girls and boys. A girl who has fallen in love with a boy will be greatly interested in all his doings, and will gladly embrace and even kiss him; but she will be far less disposed to proceed to actions in which the genital organs play a part than would a boy with a like affection for a girl. The same rule holds good when, in the undifferentiated stage of the sexual impulse, homosexual sentiments and practices ensue. In such cases, when girls are concerned, caresses of all kinds will follow, but the genital organs will in all probability not be involved; whereas in the case of an analogous fondness between two boys, manipulation of the genital organs is very likely to occur. Homosexual intimacies between girls are far more often platonic than similar intimacies between boys."(87)

[Uiteraard kan dit volkomen cultureel bepaald zijn. Door de kleding alleen al. Maar daar hoor je niets over.]

"Among girls, masturbation is less general than it is among boys. Among those who have never masturbated during girlhood, we find women who as adults have powerful sexual impulse. On the other hand, many girls who masturbate do so very often. I believe, indeed, that cases in which masturbation is performed twice or thrice in brief succession are relatively commoner among girls than they are among boys."(92)

"Children also experience sexual dreams either with or without orgasm. In those who have never masturbated in the waking state, a sexual dream is commonly the cause of the first experience of ejaculation; and this occurs more often than is generally believed. More especially in the female sex I have come across many cases in which the orgasm made a primary appearance during sleep."(95)

"The earlier the age at which the child begins to ripen sexually, the earlier do sexual dreams and nocturnal ejaculations make their appearance. I have known of numerous instances in which children ten or eleven years of age have had sexual dreams; occasionally, even, I have been informed of the occurrence of such dreams in children of seven or eight years of age."(95-96)

"In some children the sexual impulse is so powerful that scandalous misconduct can hardly be avoided; on the other hand, we see cases in which the sexual impulse manifests itself at the normal age, but is so weak that it can scarcely be said to play any important part in the consciousness of the child. This is true of both components of the sexual impulse, of the phenomena of contrectation, no less than of those of detumescence. Formerly it was very generally believed that in sexually perverse persons the sexual sensations awakened unusually early in life. There is no foundation for this view. Normal sexual sensations can be detected very early in childhood. The existence of these was ignored, simply because the study of the normal was neglected for the study of the perverse. Moreover, the strength of the sexual sensations has no necessary association with the existence of perversions; these latter sometimes occur without being particularly strong. On the other hand, qualitatively normal sexual sensations may be associated with sexual hyperæsthesia, and they may attain a notable strength oven during childhood."(98)

"The considerations put forward in this chapter show us how necessary it was to explain the conception of puberty at the very outset of this work. If the period of the puberal development be understood to correspond to the development and ripening of the sexual life, we see that this development begins much earlier than is commonly assumed in books on the subject. Writers have been too ready to identify with this developmental period the appearance of certain external manifestations, more especially the growth of the pubic hair in both sexes, the development of the breasts in the female, and the breaking of the voice in the male; and the appearance of certain definite outward signs—in the girl, the first menstruation, and in the boy, the first ejaculation—has usually been regarded as marking a turning-point in this development. But neither in the boy is the occurrence of the first ejaculation a proof of capacity for reproduction, or a proof that the period of the puberal development is completed; nor in the girl is the occurrence of the first menstruation, which may long precede the establishment of the far more important function of ovulation, characteristic in either of these respects. Observations made on children, accounts given by children and memories of childhood, and the results of castration (and oöphorectomy), all combine to prove the occurrence of sexual processes during childhood, at least as early as the beginning of the second period of childhood. At this time of life, the psychosexual in especial often plays a great part. If, not- withstanding all these facts, anyone desires to associate the beginning or the end of the puberal development, as was formerly done, with the appearance of “the external signs of puberty,” no one can prevent this usage. But the scientific investigator, the physician, the schoolmaster, and the parents, should all alike fully understand that such external processes comprise but a small part of all that constitutes pubescence. A straining of terminology may at times be permissible; but on no account must we allow currency to so disastrous an error as the belief that the sexual life of the child either begins or is completed with the appearance of these external signs. The sexual life of the child begins long before, and the puberal development is not completed till many years after, the appearance of these external signs, which by most people are erroneously regarded as typical of pubescence."(111-112)

(114) Chapter V - Pathology

"Apart from these considerations, we have, when there is a history of such tendencies in childhood, to take into account the possibility of illusions of memory ... "(127)

[Toen dus al geconstateerd als een groot probleem. De laatste decennia weer actueel in rechtszaken over seksueel misbruik.]

(146) Chapter VI - Etiology and diagnosis

"In certain families, the early awakening of sexuality is observed with remarkable frequency. These are often neuropathic or psychopathic families, and moreover the early awakening of the sexual life is frequently associated with neuropathic or psychopathic symptoms. But this is by no means always the case, and often enough such persons belong to healthy families and are themselves healthy. We are therefore not entitled to regard the occurrence of sexual manifestations in childhood as a proof of degeneration or of a morbid inheritance. But equally erroneous is the opposite view, that the early awakening of sexuality is an indication of exceptional endowments. It is true that in many persons of genius premature sexual passion has been observed, and such manifestations are by no means always confined to the contrectation impulse. We learn, too, in our consulting rooms, that not infrequently the most diligent schoolboys exhibit at a comparatively early age the phenomena alike of contrectation and of detumescence. But the fallacy of drawing general conclusions from this fact is shown by the additional fact that in idiots and imbeciles premature awakening of the sexual life is also of common occurrence."(146-147)

"But not only in imbeciles and idiots, and in persons of genius, but also in those with perfectly normal mental endowments, the sexual impulse, and more especially the phenomena of contrectation, may appear at a very early age. Persons with artistic tendencies develop in this way with comparative frequency. We must, for these reasons, guard against the misconception that the early awakening of sexuality is per se pathological. The fact that the study of the sexual life has been undertaken chiefly by medical men, and above all by neurologists and alienists, has inevitably introduced a certain bias into the results of the investigation. Opportunities for the study of the sexual life of normal persons have been comparatively rare; for those in whom the early awakening of sexuality has been recorded have for the most part sought medical advice and treatment for some other reason, and the physician has taken the opportunity to make inquiries into the patient’s sexual history. The boundary-line between what is pathological and what is normal can be determined only by an extended study of the sexual life in normal persons."(147)

"My own investigations have led me to draw the following conclusions. During the first period of childhood, that is to say, up to the end of the seventh year of life, the occurrence of manifestations of the sexual impulse must arouse suspicions of the existence of a congenital morbid predisposition. But as regards the phenomena of detumescence, which are confined to the peripheral genital organs, we must make an exception to this rule if they do not appear spontaneously, but result either from local inflammatory or other morbid changes, or from deliberate seduction of the child to the performance of sexual manipulations; at any rate, in such cases, the probability of the existence of congenital morbid predisposition is greatly diminished. I am also forced to regard as suspicious the occurrence of phenomena of contrectation during the first period of childhood, although not to the same extent as are the peripheral manifestations of the sexual impulse—and I hold this view notwithstanding the numerous cases recorded by Sanford Bell. Passing to the second period of childhood, the phenomena of contrectation may appear at the very beginning of this period, that is, during the eighth year of life, without justifying the inference that any morbid predisposition exists. Regarding the phenomena of detumescence, we must not hold them to be necessarily morbid when they make their appearance during the last years of the second period of childhood; but when this occurs earlier, during the tenth or eleventh year of life for instance, some suspicion may reasonably be aroused."(148)

[Invloeden van het klimaat of van rijk tegenover arm of van stad tegenover land of van voeding op vroege seksuele ontwikkeling worden bekeken maar zijn niet aangetoond.]

"Just as the recent increasing development of large towns has been regarded as responsible for immorality and for premature sexual activities in children, so also has modern civilisation in general been blamed for the same results. There has always existed a tendency to depreciate the morals of contemporary periods, and to exalt in comparison the morals of an earlier day. In books of earlier generations, in those, for instance, which appeared between the middle of the eighteenth century and the middle of the nineteenth century, we find, just as we find in the writings of our own day, lamentations upon existing corruption, especially as regards the morals of children, and panegyrics upon the morality of an earlier time."(154)

"It will suffice to remind the reader of children who while still quite young can perform extraordinary arithmetical operations, and of those who at six or seven years of age can play beautifully on the piano or some other instrument. In these latter cases the most important feature is the congenital predisposition, but this predisposition has, of course, to be aroused to activity; and the same is true in the case of the sexual impulse. This explains why it is that the most careful education often fails to prevent the premature commencement of the amatory life; and it explains also, on the other hand, why it is that even in the most unfavourable circumstances, sexual phenomena do not always make their appearance during childhood. I know of persons who have passed the years of childhood in a brothel, amid surroundings obviously calculated to turn their attention to sexuality, but in whom nevertheless during childhood no development of the sexual life appeared to have occurred."(156-157)

"But we must not go to the other extreme, and refuse to recognise the importance of the influences surrounding the developing child. We must bear in mind that congenital predispositions vary in strength; and a little reflection will convince us that the awakening of the sexual life will be hindered by a favourable environment, but facilitated and accelerated by an unfavourable one. In cases of seduction, the congenital predisposition often plays no more than a secondary part, Sexual acts in childhood resulting from seduction often exhibit a merely imitative character, and do not appear to proceed from an organically conditioned impulse; in such cases the sexual malpractices are often discontinued when the seducing influence is withdrawn; but if this influence is exercised persistently and systematically, it may have a permanent effect even in cases in which the congenital predisposition is slight."(157)

"Whether the seduction be the work of other children or of adults, the child thus led astray is likely subsequently to induce artificially as often as possible the agreeable sensations with which it has now been made acquainted, more especially in view of the fact that in children the imitative impulse is far more strongly developed than it is in adults, in whom imitative inclinations are counteracted by numerous inhibitions."(158)

"The safest way of obtaining accurate information as to the practice of masturbation and other sexual acts is by means of confessions made to some person in the child’s confidence. Cases are known to me in which children have very readily confided in some elder person. If this does not often occur, the fault commonly lies with the child’s elder associates, who do not understand how to establish a truly confidential relationship with the children under their care. If a child finds that no one will speak to it about sexual matters, it must ultimately become secretive about its own sexual life. The child sees very clearly that every word it utters about such things is repressed as improper, and soon learns that the whole field of sexuality is regarded as something unclean, about which not a word must be uttered."(168)

"The best confidant for a young child will usually be the mother, not only because she sees more of the child than the father and because her relationship is a more intimate one than his, but in addition because a woman’s insight into certain things generally excels a man’s. As a matter of fact, for the reasons stated, masturbation in young children is in most cases discovered by the mother. It will be obvious that I speak here only of those mothers who have real affection for and sympathy with their children, and who share their children’s interests; I do not refer to those mothers who think they have adequately fulfilled their maternal duties by paying a nurse or a governess, whilst themselves immersed in the pleasures of society—or perhaps engaged in the preparation and delivery of lectures on the best way of bringing up children, on the Woman’s Movement, Woman’s Suffrage, and similar topics—or, it may be, attending these same lectures—those who, in any case, prefer some other occupation to the care of their own children."(169)

[Au! Dit oordeel zit nog eens vol met waarden en normen!]

(179) Chapter VII - Importance of the sexual life of the child

"First of all, then, let us consider the dangers to health. The earlier the sexual impulse awakens, the earlier also arises the danger of sexual practices, and more particularly of masturbation.

The danger, of course, increases, in proportion as the child comes fully to understand that in this way it can produce agreeable sensations, all the more because the child is either unaware of the injurious consequences of the practice, or, if it has been informed of these consequences, the knowledge cannot weigh in the balance against the easily induced enjoyment. But, let me say here at the outset, the dangers of masturbation have been greatly exaggerated.(...)

There in hardly a single organ of the body of which disease and destruction have not by many been referred to masturbation. In reality all this is false. It is more than doubtful whether, as far as adults are concerned, occasional masturbation is necessarily more harmful than normal sexual intercourse. According to my own observations, the principal question is whether, in masturbation, the bodily and mental stimuli employed to obtain sexual gratification involve an especial shock to the nervous system—a greater shock than results from normal sexual intercourse. More powerful shock may, indeed, arise from the fact that the masturbatory act is apt to be repeated with excessive frequency; and we have to admit that the chief danger of masturbation lies in the fact that there is so grave a risk of sexual excess. (...)

To this extent, therefore, masturbation may be more dangerous than normal sexual intercourse; for this latter also, unless it is to exert an unfavourable influence on the health, must not involve mental and bodily stimulation of too powerful a kind. The good effects of sexual intercourse depend upon its adequacy to the feelings, upon the absence of any exhausting imaginative activity, and upon the absence also of artificial bodily stimulation."(180-181)

"On the whole, I agree with the estimate of the consequences of masturbation expressed by Aschaffenburg, a man to whom we are indebted for the refutation of many extravagant views. Experience teaches that almost all men, healthy and unhealthy, moral and immoral, have masturbated for some years, once or several times a week, towards the end of the second and during the beginning of the third period of childhood. In view of this experience, what right have we to maintain seriously that masturbation is, generally speaking, dangerous to health. It is, of course, possible to contend that these persons would have developed better if they had not masturbated. But there is equal ground for asserting the opposite. We possess no evidence whatever to show that those young persons who never masturbate are in after life stronger and healthier than the others."(182)

"As a result of these experiences, I feel justified in coming to the following conclusions regarding masturbation during childhood. It has not been proved that masturbation during childhood, with or without ejaculation, is generally dangerous. The possibility of danger resulting from the practice is, however, increased by long-continued and frequently repeated masturbation; also by the artificial postponement of the voluptuous acme, and by congenital predisposition to nervous disorders. My notes of the cases which I have seen during many years of medical practice show that, even in children, masturbation does not necessarily do any harm."(187)

"I have in this chapter spoken more especially of the dan- gers threatening the child’s health from the side of its sexual life. These are, of course, not the only dangers; the moral and social dangers are even greater. First of all, in this connexion, we have to consider the practice of masturbation; but in our estimate of its effect upon morals, we must be careful to avoid sanctimoniousness. The question why masturbation is regarded as immoral has never yet been answered, declamation being here commonly mistaken for argument. And yet reasons may be found for the belief that masturbation may sometimes be a positively moral act;"(192)

"If, notwithstanding these considerations, masturbation is generally regarded as an immoral act, the reason for this opinion must obviously be sought in deeper and more general grounds. In the first place, we have to take into account the fact that according to the moral code of many persons, and certainly according to the official theological code, the only kind of sexual intercourse that is morally permissible is that which is known as “legitimate,” i.e. connubial intercourse; extra-connubial intercourse is stigmatised as immoral. Masturbation, like extra-connubial sexual intercourse, is sexual indulgence outside the limits of that which is alone permissible by the canons of theological morality. Owing to the definite teaching of the Church in this matter, the views of the common people are inevitably influenced thereby, although the practical relationships of life are thus completely ignored; above all, the fact is ignored that marriage does not as a rule become possible until long after the awakening of the sexual impulse. The purpose of the proscription by theological morality of illegitimate intercourse and of masturbation is to effect the prevention of all varieties of sexual indulgence except under the form of marriage, and, if possible, under the form of marriage blessed by the Church."(193)

"Whatever the real sequence of events—whether in a little girl the occurrence of sexual intercourse is favoured by the spontaneous premature awakening of the sexual impulse, or, conversely, it is the premature intercourse which awakens the impulse and keeps it active thereafter—the consequences of premature awakening of the sexual impulse are always extremely serious, and often result in the permanent social extinction of the girl concerned. Although in many cases she may be fortunate enough to escape the fate of the prostitute, none the less in modern civilised countries the loss of virginity is a serious disgrace, by which her future will be affected altogether apart from the moral shocks resulting from sexual intercourse in early childhood, and from the possibility of impregnation."(197)

"But the sexual life of the child is of importance from another point of view. In cases in which children are the objects of sexual offences, such as have recently so often come before the courts, the question of the capacity of the children to give evidence frequently plays a great part. The lawyer, who is often ignorant of the extent to which sexual imaginations and sexual acts may prevail among children, is apt to assume that the child is of necessity sexually inexperienced, and for this reason to put a trust in childish evidence which is in many instances not justified by the facts of the case, because the supposed inexperience may not really exist. If judges and magistrates knew how much and how often children’s brains are occupied with sexual imaginations, without speaking of the sexual acts which many children have engaged in while still quite young, they would be more guarded than they are at present in their acceptance of children’s evidence in sexual matters. Not infrequently, when such a child describes the sexual offence which is supposed to have been committed, it is assumed without further inquiry that the child’s account must be accurate, the grounds for this assumption being stated as follows: “How could such an accusation be invented? The poor child has had no previous experience of such matters; what is now described must have actually happened, for it is impossible that an inexperienced child could construct it all out of its own imagination.” But to anyone who has seriously studied the sexual life of the child, this logic is utterly fallacious."(201-202)

"Even though among the witnesses we have parents, masters, or governesses all uniting to assure us that the child’s mind is still perfectly innocent, and that not a suspicion regarding matters of sex has yet been aroused, the judge should not allow himself to be deceived. Sexual imaginations often dominate the consciousness of the child, at the very time when a display of shamefacedness in relation to such things deceives the onlookers."(203)

"That which is immoral in the adult is not necessarily immoral in the child, who is merely led by curiosity, and by his astonishment at the changes taking place in his body, to study these changes closely. It is not immoral for a child to wish to study in propriá personá matters about which information has been withheld. Adults are far too ready to interpret the actions of children in the light of their own feelings—a mistake which cannot be too strongly condemned."(213)

(219) Chapter VIII - The child as an object of sexual practices

Niet samengevat.

(246) Chapter IX - Sexual education

Niet samengevat.

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