Married Love

Appendix 123

Note i. — (Sec p. 24.)

For suffering and even death of unmatcd females, see e.g.
MARSHALL, in Quarterly Journal Microscopical Society,
Vol. 48, 1904, p.323.

PARSONS, in British Medical Journal, October, 1904.
Note 2. — (See p. 31.)

A frequent mistake (made even by gynaecologists) is to
confuse menstruation with the ” period of desire,” which is
generally called ” heat ” in animals. Even in the most
authoritative recent text books, such phrases as ” heat and
menstruation ” are very common, thus coupling heat and
menstruation as though they were equivalents, while the
older books quite explicitly look on the menstrual period in
women as corresponding to desire of ” heat ” in animals.
This error has even been repeated very recently in the Pro-
ceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine.*

Some physiologists have studied this subject in several of
the higher animals, and now realise that the time of desire
is physiologically distinct from the phase which is repre-
sented by menstruation in women. It seems to be fairly well
established that in women menstruation is caused by an
internal secretion of the ovaries {c.f. p. 61), and is not
directly due to ovulation, though it must have some connec-
tion with it.f

The most that modern science appears to have attained
is briefly summarised in the following quotation from
Marshall (” The Physiology of Reproduction,” p. 69) : ‘

See Dr. Raymond Crawfurd’s mistaken statement that “the
identity of oestrus, or ‘ heat ‘ in the lower animals and of
menstruation in the human female, admits of no doubt.” P. 62
Proc. Roy. Soc. Medicine, vol. 9., 191 6.

f The best modern account of these complex subjects will be
found in the advanced text-book, ” The Physiolo<;y of Reproduc-
tion,” pp. xvii., 706, by F. H. A. Marshall. Reference may be
made to original papers by J. Beard in the Anat. Anzeiger for
i8q7; and by Heape in the Philosophical Trans. Royal Society,
1894, 97.

” According to Martin and certain other writers, the huai^a
female often experiences a distinct post-menstrual oestrus
[Modern research has recognised a period when the female
animal is ready for impregnation, which is called the cestrus,
and a preparatory series of physiological changes called the
pro-estrous phase. — M.C.S.], at which sexual desire is greater
than at other times; so that, although conception can occur
throughout the intermenstrual periods, it would seem prob-
able that originally coition was restricted to definite periods
of oestrus following menstrual or pro-estrous periods in
women, as in females of other mammalia. On this point
Heape write as follows : ‘ This special time for oestrus in the
human female has very frequently been denied, and, no doubt,
modern civilisation and modern social life do much to check
the natural sexual instinct where there is undue strain on the
constitution, or to stimulate it at other times where extreme
vigour is the result. For these reasons a definite period of
oestrus may readily be interfered with, but the instinct is, I
am convinced, still marked.’ ”

In nearly all wild animals there is a definite period for
sexual excitement, very commonly just at that time of the
year which fits into the span of gestation,’ so that the young
are born at the season which gives them the best chance to
grow up. In animals the period of desire, the ovulation (or
setting free of the female germ or unfertilised egg-cell) and
the time of the birth of the young, are all co-related harmoni-
ously. The male animal is only allowed to approach the
female when the natural longing for union is upon her.
Among human beings, the only race which seems to have
long periods of sexual quiescence at all comparable with those
natural to the animals are the Esquimaux, who appear to
pass many months without any unions of the men and
women.