In concluding these prefatory remarks it may not be amiss to eay that, while we are surrounded on all sides by physiological sex-manifestations, they are, from the very nature of such things, as difficult to come at as they are of strict scientific definition. If the physician announce his intention of writing a brochure on typhoid fever, or diphtheria, he is at once approached by a host of patients, anxious to impart information; but if he ask one of the most officious of these how many times he has intercourse with his wife every week, whether she is always willing or reluctant, how they are sexually mated as to size and desire, or any other of a dozen such questions, no clam at high tide could shut up tighter, nor look more virtuously indignant.*
Therefore it is, as Mr. Ellis, possibly with a similar sad experience fresh in his memory, ruefully remarks, that "any serious and precise study of the sexual instinct will be met with popular disapproval;.....and, among those for whom he is chiefly working, the author will find indifference."
The public will be attracted by gross pictures of sexual perversity—the grosser the better—furnished by asylum-reports, patent nostrum vendors, brothels, professional obscenity mongers, or would-be writers, destitute of learning, decency and ethics, whose conceptions of science, literature and religion, begin and end with the amount of coin each is capable of producing; while the serious and educated inquirer,, who examines phenomena in their proper perspective, weighing them with a thoughtful regard to their causation, bearing, and ultimate physiological results, will too often only have his labor for his pains.
1 "Sollicitiores de capitis sui decore quam de salute," etc.
1 As an instance of the difficulty experienced in collecting data for a work of this character, a very intelligent lady whom I approached, as tactfully as I knew how, with certain questions of a sexual nature, was deeply insulted, and has not spoken to me since. If I write another book like this I shall not have a friend left in the world.