STUDIES IN THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SEX, VOLUME I
The Evolution of Modesty The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity Auto-Erotism
The origin of these Studies dates from many years back. As a youth I was faced, as others are, by the problem of sex. Living partly in an Australian city where the ways of life were plainly seen, partly in the solitude of the bush, I was free both to contemplate and to meditate many things. A resolve slowly grew up within me: one main part of my life-work should be to make clear the problems of sex.
That was more than twenty years ago. Since then I can honestly say that in all that I have done that resolve has never been very far from my thoughts. I have always been slowly working up to this central problem; and in a book published some three years ago—Man and Woman: a Study of Human Secondary Sexual Characters—I put forward what was, in my own eyes, an introduction to the study of the primary questions of sexual psychology.
Now that I have at length reached the time for beginning to publish my results, these results scarcely seem to me large. As a youth, I had hoped to settle problems for those who came after; now I am quietly content if I do little more than state them. For even that, I now think, is much; it is at least the half of knowledge. In this particular field the evil of ignorance is magnified by our efforts to suppress that which never can be suppressed, though in the effort of suppression it may become perverted. I have at least tried to find out what are the facts, among normal people as well as among abnormal people; for, while it seems to me that the physician's training is necessary in order to ascertain the facts, the physician for the most part only obtains the abnormal facts, which alone bring little light. I have tried to get at the facts, and, having got at the facts, to look them simply and squarely in the face. If I cannot perhaps turn the lock myself, I bring the key which can alone in the end rightly open the door: the key of sincerity. That is my one panacea: sincerity.
I know that many of my friends, people on whose side I, too, am to be found, retort with another word: reticence. It is a mistake, they say, to try to uncover these things; leave the sexual instincts alone, to grow up and develop in the shy solitude they love, and they will be sure to grow up and develop wholesomely. But, as a matter of fact, that is precisely what we can not and will not ever allow them to do. There are very few middle-aged men and women who can clearly recall the facts of their lives and tell you in all honesty that their sexual instincts have developed easily and wholesomely throughout. And it should not be difficult to see why this is so. Let my friends try to transfer their feelings and theories from the reproductive region to, let us say, the nutritive region, the only other which can be compared to it for importance. Suppose that eating and drinking was never spoken of openly, save in veiled or poetic language, and that no one ever ate food publicly, because it was considered immoral and immodest to reveal the mysteries of this natural function. We know what would occur. A considerable proportion of the community, more especially the more youthful members, possessed by an instinctive and legitimate curiosity, would concentrate their thoughts on the subject. They would have so many problems to puzzle over: How often ought I to eat? What ought I to eat? Is it wrong to eat fruit, which I like? Ought I to eat grass, which I don't like? Instinct notwithstanding, we may be quite sure that only a small minority would succeed in eating reasonably and wholesomely. The sexual secrecy of life is even more disastrous than such a nutritive secrecy would be; partly because we expend such a wealth of moral energy in directing or misdirecting it, partly because the sexual impulse normally develops at the same time as the intellectual impulse, not in the early years of life, when wholesome instinctive habits might be formed. And there is always some ignorant and foolish friend who is prepared still further to muddle things: Eat a meal every other day! Eat twelve meals a day! Never eat fruit! Always eat grass! The advice emphatically given in sexual matters is usually not less absurd than this. When, however, the matter is fully open, the problems of food are not indeed wholly solved, but everyone is enabled by the experience of his fellows to reach some sort of situation suited to his own case. And when the rigid secrecy is once swept away a sane and natural reticence becomes for the first time possible.
This secrecy has not always been maintained. When the Catholic Church was at the summit of its power and influence it fully realized the magnitude of sexual problems and took an active and inquiring interest in all the details of normal and abnormal sexuality. Even to the present time there are certain phenomena of the sexual life which have scarcely been accurately described except in ancient theological treatises. As the type of such treatises I will mention the great tome of Sanchez, De Matrimonio. Here you will find the whole sexual life of men and women analyzed in its relationships to sin. Everything is set forth, as clearly and as concisely as it can be—without morbid prudery on the one hand, or morbid sentimentality on the other—in the coldest scientific language; the right course of action is pointed out for all the cases that may occur, and we are told what is lawful, what a venial sin, what a mortal sin. Now I do not consider that sexual matters concern the theologian alone, and I deny altogether that he is competent to deal with them. In his hands, also, undoubtedly, they sometimes become prurient, as they can scarcely fail to become on the non-natural and unwholesome basis of asceticism, and as they with difficulty become in the open-air light of science. But we are bound to recognize the thoroughness with which the Catholic theologians dealt with these matters, and, from their own point of view, indeed, the entire reasonableness; we are bound to recognize the admirable spirit in which, successfully or not, they sought to approach them. We need to-day the same spirit and temper applied from a different standpoint. These things concern everyone; the study of these things concerns the physiologist, the psychologist, the moralist. We want to get into possession of the actual facts, and from the investigation of the facts we want to ascertain what is normal and what is abnormal, from the point of view of physiology and of psychology. We want to know what is naturally lawful under the various sexual chances that may befall man, not as the born child of sin, but as a naturally social animal. What is a venial sin against nature, what a mortal sin against nature? The answers are less easy to reach than the theologians' answers generally were, but we can at least put ourselves in the right attitude; we may succeed in asking that question which is sometimes even more than the half of knowledge.
It is perhaps a mistake to show so plainly at the outset that I approach what may seem only a psychological question not without moral fervour. But I do not wish any mistake to be made. I regard sex as the central problem of life. And now that the problem of religion has practically been settled, and that the problem of labor has at least been placed on a practical foundation, the question of sex—with the racial questions that rest on it—stands before the coming generations as the chief problem for solution. Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex.—So, at least, it seems to me.
Having said so much, I will try to present such results as I have to record in that cold and dry light through which alone the goal of knowledge may truly be seen.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The first edition of this volume was published in 1899, following "Sexual Inversion," which now forms Volume II. The second edition, issued by the present publishers and substantially identical with the first edition, appeared in the following year. Ten years have elapsed since then and this new edition will be found to reflect the course of that long interval. Not only is the volume greatly enlarged, but nearly every page has been partly rewritten. This is mainly due to three causes: Much new literature required to be taken into account; my own knowledge of the historical and ethnographic aspects of the sexual impulse has increased; many fresh illustrative cases of a valuable and instructive character have accumulated in my hands. It is to these three sources of improvement that the book owes its greatly revised and enlarged condition, and not to the need for modifying any of its essential conclusions. These, far from undergoing any change, have by the new material been greatly strengthened.
It may be added that the General Preface to the whole work, which was originally published in 1898 at the beginning of "Sexual Inversion," now finds its proper place at the outset of the present volume.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The present volume contains three studies which seem to me to be necessary prolegomena to that analysis of the sexual instinct which must form the chief part of an investigation into the psychology of sex. The first sketches the main outlines of a complex emotional state which is of fundamental importance in sexual psychology; the second, by bringing together evidence from widely different regions, suggests a tentative explanation of facts that are still imperfectly known; the third attempts to show that even in fields where we assume our knowledge to be adequate a broader view of the phenomena teaches us to suspend judgment and to adopt a more cautious attitude. So far as they go, these studies are complete in themselves; their special use, as an introduction to a more comprehensive analysis of sexual phenomena, is that they bring before us, under varying aspects, a characteristic which, though often ignored, is of the first importance in obtaining a clear understanding of the facts: the tendency of the sexual impulse to appear in a spontaneous and to some extent periodic manner, affecting women differently from men. This is a tendency which, later, I hope to make still more apparent, for it has practical and social, as well as psychological, implications. Here—and more especially in the study of those spontaneous solitary manifestations which I call auto-erotic—I have attempted to clear the ground, and to indicate the main lines along which the progress of our knowledge in these fields may best be attained.
It may surprise many medical readers that in the third and longest study I have said little, save incidentally, either of treatment or prevention. The omission of such considerations at this stage is intentional. It may safely be said that in no other field of human activity is so vast an amount of strenuous didactic morality founded on so slender a basis of facts. In most other departments of life we at least make a pretence of learning before we presume to teach; in the field of sex we content ourselves with the smallest and vaguest minimum of information, often ostentatiously second-hand, usually unreliable. I wish to emphasize the fact that before we can safely talk either of curing or preventing these manifestations we must know a great deal more than we know at present regarding their distribution, etiology, and symptomatology; and we must exercise the same coolness and caution as—if our work is to be fruitful—we require in any other field of serious study. We must approach these facts as physicians, it is true, but also as psychologists, primarily concerned to find out the workings of such manifestations in fairly healthy and normal people. If we found a divorce-court judge writing a treatise on marriage we should smile. But it is equally absurd for the physician, so long as his knowledge is confined to disease, to write regarding sex at large; valuable as the facts he brings forward may be, he can never be in a position to generalize concerning them. And to me, at all events, it seems that we have had more than enough pictures of gross sexual perversity, whether furnished by the asylum or the brothel. They are only really instructive when they are seen in their proper perspective as the rare and ultimate extremes of a chain of phenomena which we may more profitably study nearer home.
Yet, although we are, on every hand, surrounded by the normal manifestations of sex, conscious or unconscious, these manifestations are extremely difficult to observe, and, in those cases in which we are best able to observe them, it frequently happens that we are unable to make any use of our knowledge. Moreover, even when we have obtained our data, the difficulties—at all events, for an English investigator—are by no means overcome. He may take for granted that any serious and precise study of the sexual instinct will not meet with general approval; his work will be misunderstood; his motives will be called in question; among those for whom he is chiefly working he will find indifference. Indeed, the pioneer in this field may well count himself happy if he meets with nothing worse than indifference. Hence it is that the present volume will not be published in England, but that, availing myself of the generous sympathy with which my work has been received in America, I have sought the wider medical and scientific audience of the United States. In matters of faith, "liberty of prophesying" was centuries since eloquently vindicated for Englishmen; the liberty of investigating facts is still called in question, under one pretence or another, and to seek out the most vital facts of life is still in England a perilous task.
I desire most heartily to thank the numerous friends and correspondents, some living in remote parts of the world, who have freely assisted me in my work with valuable information and personal histories. To Mr. F.H. Perry-Coste I owe an appendix which is by far the most elaborate attempt yet made to find evidence of periodicity in the spontaneous sexual manifestations of sleep; my debts to various medical and other correspondents are duly stated in the text. To many women friends and correspondents I may here express my gratitude for the manner in which they have furnished me with intimate personal records, and for the cross-examination to which they have allowed me to subject them. I may already say here, what I shall have occasion to say more emphatically in subsequent volumes, that without the assistance I have received from women of fine intelligence and high character my work would be impossible. I regret that I cannot make my thanks more specific.
THE EVOLUTION OF MODESTY.
The Definition of Modesty—The Significance of Modesty—Difficulties in the Way of Its Analysis—The Varying Phenomena of Modesty Among Different Peoples and in Different Ages.
Modesty an Agglomeration of Fears—Children in Relation to Modesty—Modesty in Animals—The Attitude of the Medicean Venus—The Sexual Factor of Modesty Based on Sexual periodicity and on the Primitive Phenomena of Courtship—The Necessity of Seclusion in Primitive Sexual Intercourse—The Meaning of Coquetry—The Sexual Charm of Modesty—Modesty as an Expression of Feminine Erotic Impulse—The Fear of Causing Disgust as a Factor of Modesty—The Modesty of Savages in Regard to Eating in the Presence of Others—The Sacro-Pubic Region as a Focus of Disgust—The Idea of Ceremonial Uncleanliness—The Custom of Veiling the Face—Ornaments and Clothing—Modesty Becomes Concentrated in the Garment—The Economic Factor in Modesty—The Contribution of Civilization to Modesty—The Elaboration of Social Ritual.
The Blush the Sanction of Modesty—The Phenomena of Blushing—Influences Which Modify the Aptitude to Blush—Darkness, Concealment of the Face, Etc.
Summary of the Factors of Modesty—The Future of Modesty—Modesty an Essential Element of Love.
THE PHENOMENA OF SEXUAL PERIODICITY.
The Various Physiological and Psychological Rhythms—Menstruation—The Alleged Influence of the Moon—Frequent Suppression of Menstruation among Primitive Races—Mittelschmerz—Possible Tendency to a Future Intermenstrual Cycle—Menstruation among Animals—Menstruating Monkeys and Apes—What is Menstruation—Its Primary Cause Still Obscure—The Relation of Menstruation to Ovulation—The Occasional Absence of Menstruation in Health—The Relation of Menstruation to "Heat"—The Prohibition of Intercourse during Menstruation—The Predominance of Sexual Excitement at and around the Menstrual Period—Its Absence during the Period Frequently Apparent only.
The Question of a Monthly Sexual Cycle in Men—The Earliest Suggestions of a General Physiological Cycle in Men—Periodicity in Disease—Insanity, Heart Disease, etc.—The Alleged Twenty-three Days' Cycle—The Physiological Periodicity of Seminal Emissions during Sleep—Original Observations—Fortnightly and Weekly Rhythms.
The Annual Sexual Rhythm—In Animals—In Man—Tendency of the Sexual Impulse to become Heightened in Spring and Autumn—The Prevalence of Seasonal Erotic Festivals—The Feast of Fools—The Easter and Midsummer Bonfires—The Seasonal Variations in Birthrate—The Causes of those Variations—The Typical Conception-rate Curve for Europe—The Seasonal Periodicity of Seminal Emissions During Sleep—Original Observations—Spring and Autumn the Chief Periods of Involuntary Sexual Excitement—The Seasonal Periodicity of Rapes—Of Outbreaks among Prisoners—The Seasonal Curves of Insanity and Suicide—The Growth of Children According to Season—The Annual Curve of Bread-consumption in Prisons—Seasonal Periodicity of Scarlet Fever—The Underlying Causes of these Seasonal Phenomena.
AUTO-EROTISM: A STUDY OF THE SPONTANEOUS MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE.
Definition of Auto-erotism—Masturbation only Covers a Small Portion of the Auto-erotic Field—The Importance of this Study, especially To-day—Auto-erotic Phenomena in Animals—Among Savage and Barbaric Races—The Japanese rin-no-tama and other Special Instruments for Obtaining Auto-erotic Gratification—Abuse of the Ordinary Implements and Objects of Daily Life—The Frequency of Hair-pin in the Bladder—The Influence of Horse-exercise and Railway Traveling—The Sewing-machine and the Bicycle—Spontaneous Passive Sexual Excitement—Delectatio Morosa—Day-dreaming—Pollutio—Sexual Excitement During Sleep—Erotic Dreams—The Analogy of Nocturnal Enuresis—Differences in the Erotic Dreams of Men and Women—The Auto-erotic Phenomena of Sleep in the Hysterical—Their Frequently Painful Character.
Hysteria and the Question of Its Relation to the Sexual Emotions—The Early Greek Theories of its Nature and Causation—The Gradual Rise of Modern Views—Charcot—The Revolt Against Charcot's Too Absolute Conclusions—Fallacies Involved—Charcot's Attitude the Outcome of his Personal Temperament—Breuer and Freud—Their Views Supplement and Complete Charcot's—At the Same Time they Furnish a Justification for the Earlier Doctrine of Hysteria—But They Must Not be Regarded as Final—The Diffused Hysteroid Condition in Normal Persons—The Physiological Basis of Hysteria—True Pathological Hysteria is Linked on to almost Normal States, especially to Sex-hunger.
The Prevalence of Masturbation—Its Occurrence in Infancy and Childhood—Is it More Frequent in Males or Females?—After Adolescence Apparently more Frequent in Women—Reasons for the Sexual Distribution of Masturbation—The Alleged Evils of Masturbation—Historical Sketch of the Views Held on This Point—The Symptoms and Results of Masturbation—Its Alleged Influence in Causing Eye Disorders—Its Relation to Insanity and Nervous Disorders—The Evil Effects of Masturbation Usually Occur on the Basis of a Congenitally Morbid Nervous System—Neurasthenia Probably the Commonest Accompaniment of Excessive Masturbation—Precocious Masturbation Tends to Produce Aversion to Coitus—Psychic Results of Habitual Masturbation—Masturbation in Men of Genius—Masturbation as a Nervous Sedative—Typical Cases—The Greek Attitude toward Masturbation—Attitude of the Catholic Theologians—The Mohammedan Attitude—The Modern Scientific Attitude—In What Sense is Masturbation Normal?—The Immense Part in Life Played by Transmuted Auto-erotic Phenomena.
The Influence of Menstruation on the Position of Women.
Sexual Periodicity in Men.
The Auto-erotic Factor in Religion.
THE EVOLUTION OF MODESTY.
The Definition of Modesty—The Significance of Modesty—Difficulties in the Way of Its Analysis—The Varying Phenomena of Modesty Among Different Peoples and in Different Ages.
Modesty, which may be provisionally defined as an almost instinctive fear prompting to concealment and usually centering around the sexual processes, while common to both sexes is more peculiarly feminine, so that it may almost be regarded as the chief secondary sexual character of women on the psychical side. The woman who is lacking in this kind of fear is lacking, also, in sexual attractiveness to the normal and average man. The apparent exceptions seem to prove the rule, for it will generally be found that the women who are, not immodest (for immodesty is more closely related to modesty than mere negative absence of the sense of modesty), but without that fear which implies the presence of a complex emotional feminine organization to defend, only make a strong sexual appeal to men who are themselves lacking in the complementary masculine qualities. As a psychical secondary sexual character of the first rank, it is necessary, before any psychology of sex can be arranged in order, to obtain a clear view of modesty.
The immense importance of feminine modesty in creating masculine passion must be fairly obvious. I may, however, quote the observations of two writers who have shown evidence of insight and knowledge regarding this matter.
Casanova describes how, when at Berne, he went to the baths, and was, according to custom, attended by a young girl, whom he selected from a group of bath attendants. She undressed him, proceeded to undress herself, and then entered the bath with him, and rubbed him thoroughly all over, the operation being performed in the most serious manner and without a word being spoken. When all was over, however, he perceived that the girl had expected him to make advances, and he proceeds to describe and discuss his own feelings of indifference under such circumstances. "Though without gazing on the girl's figure, I had seen enough to recognize that she had all that a man can desire to find in a woman: a beautiful face, lively and well-formed eyes, a beautiful mouth, with good teeth, a healthy complexion, well-developed breasts, and everything in harmony. It is true that I had felt that her hands could have been smoother, but I could only attribute this to hard work; moreover, my Swiss girl was only eighteen, and yet I remained entirely cold. What was the cause of this? That was the question that I asked myself."
"It is clear," wrote Stendhal, "that three parts of modesty are taught. This is, perhaps, the only law born of civilization which produces nothing but happiness. It has been observed that birds of prey hide themselves to drink, because, being obliged to plunge their heads in the water, they are at that moment defenceless. After having considered what passes at Otaheite, I can see no other natural foundation for modesty. Love is the miracle of civilization. Among savage and very barbarous races we find nothing but physical love of a gross character. It is modesty that gives to love the aid of imagination, and in so doing imparts life to it. Modesty is very early taught to little girls by their mothers, and with extreme jealousy, one might say, by esprit de corps. They are watching in advance over the happiness of the future lover. To a timid and tender woman there ought to be no greater torture than to allow herself in the presence of a man something which she thinks she ought to blush at. I am convinced that a proud woman would prefer a thousand deaths. A slight liberty taken on the tender side by the man she loves gives a woman a moment of keen pleasure, but if he has the air of blaming her for it, or only of not enjoying it with transport, an awful doubt must be left in her mind. For a woman above the vulgar level there is, then, everything to gain by very reserved manners. The play is not equal. She hazards against a slight pleasure, or against the advantage of appearing a little amiable, the danger of biting remorse, and a feeling of shame which must render even the lover less dear. An evening passed gaily and thoughtlessly, without thinking of what comes after, is dearly paid at this price. The sight of a lover with whom one fears that one has had this kind of wrong must become odious for several days. Can one be surprised at the force of a habit, the slightest infractions of which are punished with such atrocious shame? As to the utility of modesty, it is the mother of love. As to the mechanism of the feeling, nothing is simpler. The mind is absorbed in feeling shame instead of being occupied with desire. Desires are forbidden, and desires lead to actions. It is evident that every tender and proud woman—and these two things, being cause and effect, naturally go together—must contract habits of coldness which the people whom she disconcerts call prudery. The power of modesty is so great that a tender woman betrays herself with her lover rather by deeds than by words. The evil of modesty is that it constantly leads to falsehood." (Stendhal, De l'Amour, Chapter XXIV.)
It thus happens that, as Adler remarks (Die Mangelhafte Geschlechtsempfindung des Weibes, p. 133), the sexual impulse in women is fettered by an inhibition which has to be conquered. A thin veil of reticence, shyness, and anxiety is constantly cast anew over a woman's love, and her wooer, in every act of courtship, has the enjoyment of conquering afresh an oft-won woman.
An interesting testimony to the part played by modesty in effecting the union of the sexes is furnished by the fact—to which attention has often been called—that the special modesty of women usually tends to diminish, though not to disappear, with the complete gratification of the sexual impulses. This may be noted among savage as well as among civilized women. The comparatively evanescent character of modesty has led to the argument (Venturi, Degenerazioni Psico-sessuali, pp. 92-93) that modesty (pudore) is possessed by women alone, men exhibiting, instead, a sense of decency which remains at about the same level of persistency throughout life. Viazzi ("Pudore nell 'uomo e nella donna," Rivista Mensile di Psichiatria Forense, 1898), on the contrary, following Sergi, argues that men are, throughout, more modest than women; but the points he brings forward, though often just, scarcely justify his conclusion. While the young virgin, however, is more modest and shy than the young man of the same age, the experienced married woman is usually less so than her husband, and in a woman who is a mother the shy reticences of virginal modesty would be rightly felt to be ridiculous. ("Les petites pudeurs n'existent pas pour les meres," remarks Goncourt, Journal des Goncourt, vol. iii, p. 5.) She has put off a sexual livery that has no longer any important part to play in life, and would, indeed, be inconvenient and harmful, just as a bird loses its sexual plumage when the pairing season is over.
Madame Celine Renooz, in an elaborate study of the psychological sexual differences between men and women (Psychologie Comparee de l'Homme et de la Femme, 1898, pp. 85-87), also believes that modesty is not really a feminine characteristic. "Modesty," she argues, "is masculine shame attributed to women for two reasons: first, because man believes that woman is subject to the same laws as himself; secondly, because the course of human evolution has reversed the psychology of the sexes, attributing to women the psychological results of masculine sexuality. This is the origin of the conventional lies which by a sort of social suggestion have intimidated women. They have, in appearance at least, accepted the rule of shame imposed on them by men, but only custom inspires the modesty for which they are praised; it is really an outrage to their sex. This reversal of psychological laws has, however, only been accepted by women with a struggle. Primitive woman, proud of her womanhood, for a long time defended her nakedness which ancient art has always represented. And in the actual life of the young girl to-day there is a moment when, by a secret atavism, she feels the pride of her sex, the intuition of her moral superiority, and cannot understand why she must hide its cause. At this moment, wavering between the laws of Nature and social conventions, she scarcely knows if nakedness should or should not affright her. A sort of confused atavistic memory recalls to her a period before clothing was known, and reveals to her as a paradisaical ideal the customs of that human epoch."
In support of this view the authoress proceeds to point out that the decollete constantly reappears in feminine clothing, never in male; that missionaries experience great difficulty in persuading women to cover themselves; that, while women accept with facility an examination by male doctors, men cannot force themselves to accept examination by a woman doctor, etc. (These and similar points had already been independently brought forward by Sergi, Archivio di Psichiatria, vol. xiii, 1892.)
It cannot be said that Madame Renooz's arguments will all bear examination, if only on the ground that nakedness by no means involves absence of modesty, but the point of view which she expresses is one which usually fails to gain recognition, though it probably contains an important element of truth. It is quite true, as Stendhal said, that modesty is very largely taught; from the earliest years, a girl child is trained to show a modesty which she quickly begins really to feel. This fact cannot fail to strike any one who reads the histories of pseudo-hermaphroditic persons, really males, who have from infancy been brought up in the belief that they are girls, and who show, and feel, all the shrinking reticence and blushing modesty of their supposed sex. But when the error is discovered, and they are restored to their proper sex, this is quickly changed, and they exhibit all the boldness of masculinity. (See e.g., Neugebauer, "Beobachtungen aus dem Gebiete des Scheinzwittertumes," Jahrbuch fuer Sexuelle Zwischenstufen, Jahrgang iv, 1902, esp. p. 92.) At the same time this is only one thread in the tangled skein with which we are here concerned. The mass of facts which meets us when we turn to the study of modesty in women cannot be dismissed as a group of artificially-imposed customs. They gain rather than lose in importance if we have to realize that the organic sexual demands of women, calling for coyness in courtship, lead to the temporary suppression of another feminine instinct of opposite, though doubtless allied, nature.
But these somewhat conflicting, though not really contradictory, statements serve to bring out the fact that a woman's modesty is often an incalculable element. The woman who, under some circumstances and at some times, is extreme in her reticences, under other circumstances or at other times, may be extreme in her abandonment. Not that her modesty is an artificial garment, which she throws off or on at will. It is organic, but like the snail's shell, it sometimes forms an impenetrable covering, and sometimes glides off almost altogether. A man's modesty is more rigid, with little tendency to deviate toward either extreme. Thus it is, that, when uninstructed, a man is apt to be impatient with a woman's reticences, and yet shocked at her abandonments.
The significance of our inquiry becomes greater when we reflect that to the reticences of sexual modesty, in their progression, expansion, and complication, we largely owe, not only the refinement and development of the sexual emotions,—"la pudeur" as Guyau remarked, "a civilise l'amour"—but the subtle and pervading part which the sexual instinct has played in the evolution of all human culture.
"It is certain that very much of what is best in religion, art, and life," remark Stanley Hall and Allin, "owes its charm to the progressively-widening irradiation of sexual feeling. Perhaps the reluctance of the female first long-circuited the exquisite sensations connected with sexual organs and acts to the antics of animal and human courtship, while restraint had the physiological function of developing the colors, plumes, excessive activity, and exuberant life of the pairing season. To keep certain parts of the body covered, irradiated the sense of beauty to eyes, hair, face, complexion, dress, form, etc., while many savage dances, costumes and postures are irradiations of the sexual act. Thus reticence, concealment, and restraint are among the prime conditions of religion and human culture." (Stanley Hall and Allin, "The Psychology of Tickling," American Journal of Psychology, 1897, p. 31.)
Groos attributes the deepening of the conjugal relation among birds to the circumstance that the male seeks to overcome the reticence of the female by the display of his charms and abilities. "And in the human world," he continues, "it is the same; without the modest reserve of the woman that must, in most cases, be overcome by lovable qualities, the sexual relationship would with difficulty find a singer who would extol in love the highest movements of the human soul." (Groos, Spiele der Menschen, p. 341.)
I have not, however, been, able to find that the subject of modesty has been treated in any comprehensive way by psychologists. Though valuable facts and suggestions bearing on the sexual emotions, on disgust, the origins of tatooing, on ornament and clothing, have been, brought forward by physiologists, psychologists, and ethnographists, few or no attempts appear to have been made to reach a general synthetic statement of these facts and suggestions. It is true that a great many unreliable, slight, or fragmentary efforts have been made to ascertain the constitution or basis of this emotion. Many psychologists have regarded modesty simply as the result of clothing. This view is overturned by the well-ascertained fact that many races which go absolutely naked possess a highly-developed sense of modesty. These writers have not realized that physiological modesty is earlier in appearance, and more fundamental, than anatomical modesty. A partial contribution to the analysis of modesty has been made by Professor James, who, with his usual insight and lucidity, has set forth certain of its characteristics, especially the element due to "the application to ourselves of judgments primarily passed upon our mates." Guyau, in a very brief discussion of modesty, realized its great significance and touched on most of its chief elements. Westermarck, again, followed by Grosse, has very ably and convincingly set forth certain factors in the origin of ornament and clothing, a subject which many writers imagine to cover the whole field of modesty. More recently Ribot, in his work on the emotions, has vaguely outlined most of the factors of modesty, but has not developed a coherent view of their origins and relationships.
Since the present Study first appeared, Hohenemser, who considers that my analysis of modesty is unsatisfactory, has made a notable attempt to define the psychological mechanism of shame. ("Versuch einer Analyse der Scham," Archiv fuer die Gesamte Psychologie, Bd. II, Heft 2-3, 1903.) He regards shame as a general psycho-physical phenomenon, "a definite tension of the whole soul," with an emotion superadded. "The state of shame consists in a certain psychic lameness or inhibition," sometimes accompanied by physical phenomena of paralysis, such as sinking of the head and inability to meet the eye. It is a special case of Lipps's psychic stasis or damming up (psychische Stauung), always produced when the psychic activities are at the same time drawn in two or more different directions. In shame there is always something present in consciousness which conflicts with the rest of the personality, and cannot be brought into harmony with it, which cannot be brought, that is, into moral (not logical) relationship with it. A young man in love with a girl is ashamed when told that he is in love, because his reverence for one whom he regards as a higher being cannot be brought into relationship with his own lower personality. A child in the same way feels shame in approaching a big, grown-up person, who seems a higher sort of being. Sometimes, likewise, we feel shame in approaching a stranger, for a new person tends to seem higher and more interesting than ourselves. It is not so in approaching a new natural phenomenon, because we do not compare it with ourselves. Another kind of shame is seen when this mental contest is lower than our personality, and on this account in conflict with it, as when we are ashamed of sexual thoughts. Sexual ideas tend to evoke shame, Hohenemser remarks, because they so easily tend to pass into sexual feelings; when they do not so pass (as in scientific discussions) they do not evoke shame.
It will be seen that this discussion of modesty is highly generalized and abstracted; it deals simply with the formal mechanism of the process. Hohenemser admits that fear is a form of psychic stasis, and I have sought to show that modesty is a complexus of fears. We may very well accept the conception of psychic stasis at the outset. The analysis of modesty has still to be carried very much further.
The discussion of modesty is complicated by the difficulty, and even impossibility, of excluding closely-allied emotions—shame, shyness, bashfulness, timidity, etc.—all of which, indeed, however defined, adjoin or overlap modesty. It is not, however, impossible to isolate the main body of the emotion of modesty, on account of its special connection, on the whole, with the consciousness of sex. I here attempt, however imperfectly, to sketch out a fairly-complete analysis of its constitution and to trace its development.
In entering upon this investigation a few facts with regard to the various manifestations of modesty may be helpful to us. I have selected these from scattered original sources, and have sought to bring out the variety and complexity of the problems with which we are here concerned.
The New Georgians of the Solomon Islands, so low a race that they are ignorant both of pottery and weaving, and wear only a loin cloth, "have the same ideas of what is decent with regard to certain acts and exposures that we ourselves have;" so that it is difficult to observe whether they practice circumcision. (Somerville, Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1897, p. 394.)
In the New Hebrides "the closest secrecy is adopted with regard to the penis, not at all from a sense of decency, but to avoid Narak, the sight even of that of another man being considered most dangerous. The natives of this savage island, accordingly, wrap the penis around with many yards of calico, and other like materials, winding and folding them until a preposterous bundle 18 inches, or 2 feet long, and 2 inches or more in diameter is formed, which is then supported upward by means of a belt, in the extremity decorated with flowering grasses, etc. The testicles are left naked." There is no other body covering. (Somerville, Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1894, p. 368.)
In the Pelew Islands, says Kubary, as quoted by Bastian, it is said that when the God Irakaderugel and his wife were creating man and woman (he forming man and she forming woman), and were at work on the sexual organs, the god wished to see his consort's handiwork. She, however, was cross, and persisted in concealing what she had made. Ever since then women wear an apron of pandanus-leaves and men go naked. (A. Bastian, Inselgruppen in Oceanien, p. 112.)
In the Pelew Islands, Semper tells us that when approaching a large water-hole he was surprised to hear an affrighted, long-drawn cry from his native friends. "A girl's voice answered out of the bushes, and my people held us back, for there were women bathing there who would not allow us to pass. When I remarked that they were only women, of whom they need not be afraid, they replied that it was not so, that women had an unbounded right to punish men who passed them when bathing without their permission, and could inflict fines or even death. On this account, the women's bathing place is a safe and favorite spot for a secret rendezvous. Fortunately a lady's toilet lasts but a short time in this island." (Carl Semper, Die Palau-Inseln, 1873, p. 68.)
Among the Western Tribes of Torres Strait, Haddon states, "the men were formerly nude, and the women wore only a leaf petticoat, but I gather that they were a decent people; now both sexes are prudish. A man would never go nude before me. The women would never voluntarily expose their breasts to white men's gaze; this applies to quite young girls, less so to old women. Amongst themselves they are, of course, much less particular, but I believe they are becoming more so.... Formerly, I imagine, there was no restraint in speech; now there is a great deal of prudery; for instance, the men were always much ashamed when I asked for the name of the sexual parts of a woman." (A.C. Haddon, "Ethnography of the Western Tribes of Torres Straits," Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1890, p. 336.) After a subsequent expedition to the same region, the author reiterates his observations as to the "ridiculously prudish manner" of the men, attributable to missionary influence during the past thirty years, and notes that even the children are affected by it. "At Mabuiag, some small children were paddling in the water, and a boy of about ten years of age reprimanded a little girl of five or six years because she held up her dress too high." (Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, vol. v, p. 272.)
"Although the women of New Guinea," Vahness says, "are very slightly clothed, they are by no means lacking in a well-developed sense of decorum. If they notice, for instance, that any one is paying special attention to their nakedness, they become ashamed and turn round." When a woman had to climb the fence to enter the wild-pig enclosure, she would never do it in Vahness's presence. (Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie, Verhdlgen., 1900, Heft 5, p. 415.)
In Australia "the feeling of decency is decidedly less prevalent among males than females;" the clothed females retire out of sight to bathe. (Curr, Australian Race.)
"Except for waist-bands, forehead-bands, necklets, and armlets, and a conventional pubic tassel, shell, or, in the case of the women, a small apron, the Central Australian native is naked. The pubic tassel is a diminutive structure, about the size of a five-shilling piece, made of a few short strands of fur-strings flattened out into a fan-shape and attached to the pubic hair. As the string, especially at corrobboree times, is covered with white kaolin or gypsum, it serves as a decoration rather than a covering. Among the Arunta and Luritcha the women usually wear nothing, but further north, a small apron is made and worn." (Baldwin Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Australia, p. 572.)
Of the Central Australians Stirling says: "No sense of shame of exposure was exhibited by the men on removal of the diminutive articles worn as conventional coverings; they were taken off coram populo, and bartered without hesitation. On the other hand, some little persuasion was necessary to allow inspection of the effect of [urethral] sub-incision, assent being given only after dismissal to a distance of the women and young children. As to the women, it was nearly always observed that when in camp without clothing they, especially the younger ones, exhibited by their attitude a keen sense of modesty, if, indeed, a consciousness of their nakedness can be thus considered. When we desired to take a photograph of a group of young women, they were very coy at the proposal to remove their scanty garments, and retired behind a wall to do so; but once in a state of nudity they made no objection to exposure to the camera." (Report of the Horn Scientific Expedition, 1896, vol. iv, p. 37.)
In Northern Queensland "phallocrypts," or "penis-concealers," only used by the males at corrobborees and other public rejoicings, are either formed of pearl-shell or opossum-string. The koom-pa-ra, or opossum-string form of phallocrypt, forms a kind of tassel, and is colored red; it is hung from the waist-belt in the middle line. In both sexes the privates are only covered on special public occasions, or when in close proximity to white settlements. (W. Roth, Ethnological Studies among the Northwest-Central-Queensland Aborigines, 1897, pp. 114-115.)
"The principle of chastity," said Forster, of his experiences in the South Sea Islands in their unspoilt state, "we found in many families exceedingly well understood. I have seen many fine women who, with a modesty mixed with politeness, refuse the greatest and most tempting offers made them by our forward youths; often they excuse themselves with a simple tirra-tano, 'I am married,' and at other times they smiled and declined it with epia, 'no.' ... Virtuous women hear a joke without emotion, which, amongst us, might put some men to the blush. Neither austerity and anger, nor joy and ecstasy is the consequence, but sometimes a modest, dignified, serene smile spreads itself over their face, and seems gently to rebuke the uncouth jester." (J.R. Forster, Observations made During a Voyage Round the World, 1728, p. 392.)
Captain Cook, at Tahiti, in 1769, after performing Divine service on Sunday, witnessed "Vespers of a very different kind. A young man, near six feet high, performed the rites of Venus with a little girl about eleven or twelve years of age, before several of our people and a great number of the natives, without the least sense of its being indecent or improper, but, as it appeared, in perfect conformity to the custom of the place. Among the spectators were several women of superior rank, who may properly be said to have assisted at the ceremony; for they gave instructions to the girl how to perform her part, which, young as she was, she did not seem much to stand in need of." (J. Hawkesworth, Account of the Voyages, etc., 1775, vol. i, p. 469.)
At Tahiti, according to Cook, it was customary to "gratify every appetite and passion before witnesses," and it is added, "in the conversation of these people, that which is the principal source of their pleasure is always the principal topic; everything is mentioned without any restraint or emotion, and in the most direct terms, by both sexes." (Hawkesworth, op. cit., vol ii, p. 45.)
"I have observed," Captain Cook wrote, "that our friends in the South Seas have not even the idea of indecency, with respect to any object or any action, but this was by no means the case with the inhabitants of New Zealand, in whose carriage and conversation there was as much modest reserve and decorum with respect to actions, which yet in their opinion were not criminal, as are to be found among the politest people in Europe. The women were not impregnable; but the terms and manner of compliance were as decent as those in marriage among us, and according to their notions, the agreement was as innocent. When any of our people made an overture to any of their young women, he was given to understand that the consent of her friends was necessary, and by the influence of a proper present it was generally obtained; but when these preliminaries were settled, it was also necessary to treat the wife for a night with the same delicacy that is here required by the wife for life, and the lover who presumed to take any liberties by which this was violated, was sure to be disappointed." (Hawkesworth, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 254.)
Cook found that the people of New Zealand "bring the prepuce over the gland, and to prevent it from being drawn back by contraction of the part, they tie the string which hangs from the girdle round the end of it. The glans, indeed, seemed to be the only part of their body which they were solicitous to conceal, for they frequently threw off all their dress but the belt and string, with the most careless indifference, but showed manifest signs of confusion when, to gratify our curiosity, they were requested to untie the string, and never consented but with the utmost reluctance and shame.... The women's lower garment was always bound fast round them, except when they went into the water to catch lobsters, and then they took great care not to be seen by the men. We surprised several of them at this employment, and the chaste Diana, with her nymphs, could not have discovered more confusion and distress at the sight of Actaeon, than these women expressed upon our approach. Some of them hid themselves among the rocks, and the rest crouched down in the sea till they had made themselves a girdle and apron of such weeds as they could find, and when they came out, even with this veil, we could see that their modesty suffered much pain by our presence." (Hawkesworth, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 257-258.)
In Rotuma, in Polynesia, where the women enjoy much freedom, but where, at all events in old days, married people were, as a rule, faithful to each other, "the language is not chaste according to our ideas, and there is a great deal of freedom in speaking of immoral vices. In this connection a man and his wife will speak freely to one another before their friends. I am informed, though, by European traders well conversant with the language, that there are grades of language, and that certain coarse phrases would never be used to any decent woman; so that probably, in their way, they have much modesty, only we cannot appreciate it." (J. Stanley Gardiner, "The Natives of Rotuma," Journal of the Anthropological Institute, May, 1898, p. 481.)
The men of Rotuma, says the same writer, are very clean, the women also, bathing twice a day in the sea; but "bathing in public without the kukuluga, or sulu [loin-cloth, which is the ordinary dress], around the waist is absolutely unheard of, and would be much looked down upon." (Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1898, p. 410.)
In ancient Samoa the only necessary garment for either man or woman was an apron of leaves, but they possessed so "delicate a sense of propriety" that even "while bathing they have a girdle of leaves or some other covering around the waist." (Turner, Samoa a Hundred Years Ago, p. 121.)
After babyhood the Indians of Guiana are never seen naked. When they change their single garment they retire. The women wear a little apron, now generally made of European beads, but the Warraus still make it of the inner bark of a tree, and some of seeds. (Everard im Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana, 1883.)
The Mandurucu women of Brazil, according to Tocantins (quoted by Mantegazza), are completely naked, but they are careful to avoid any postures which might be considered indecorous, and they do this so skilfully that it is impossible to tell when they have their menstrual periods. (Mantegazza, Fisiologia della Donna, cap 9.)
The Indians of Central Brazil have no "private parts." In men the little girdle, or string, surrounding the lower part of the abdomen, hides nothing; it is worn after puberty, the penis being often raised and placed beneath it to lengthen the prepuce. The women also use a little strip of bast that goes down the groin and passes between the thighs. Among some tribes (Karibs, Tupis, Nu-Arwaks) a little, triangular, coquettishly-made piece of bark-bast comes just below the mons veneris; it is only a few centimetres in width, and is called the uluri. In both sexes concealment of the sexual mucous membrane is attained. These articles cannot be called clothing. "The red thread of the Trumai, the elegant uluri, and the variegated flag of the Bororo attract attention, like ornaments, instead of drawing attention away." Von den Steinen thinks this proceeding a necessary protection against the attacks of insects, which are often serious in Brazil. He does think, however, that there is more than this, and that the people are ashamed to show the glans penis. (Karl von den Steinen, Unter den Naturvoelkern Zentral-Brasiliens, 1894, pp. 190 et seq.)
Other travelers mention that on the Amazon among some tribes the women are clothed and the men naked; among others the women naked, and the men clothed. Thus, among the Guaycurus the men are quite naked, while the women wear a short petticoat; among the Uaupas the men always wear a loin-cloth, while the women are quite naked.
"The feeling of modesty is very developed among the Fuegians, who are accustomed to live naked. They manifest it in their bearing and in the ease with which they show themselves in a state of nudity, compared with the awkwardness, blushing, and shame which both men and women exhibit if one gazes at certain parts of their bodies. Among themselves this is never done even between husband and wife. There is no Fuegian word for modesty, perhaps because the feeling is universal among them." The women wear a minute triangular garment of skin suspended between the thighs and never removed, being merely raised during conjugal relations. (Hyades and Deniker, Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn, vol. vii, pp. 239, 307, and 347.)
Among the Crow Indians of Montana, writes Dr. Holder, who has lived with them for several years, "a sense of modesty forbids the attendance upon the female in labor of any male, white man or Indian, physician or layman. This antipathy to receiving assistance at the hands of the physician is overcome as the tribes progress toward civilization, and it is especially noticeable that half-breeds almost constantly seek the physician's aid." Dr. Holder mentions the case of a young woman who, although brought near the verge of death in a very difficult first confinement, repeatedly refused to allow him to examine her; at last she consented; "her modest preparation was to take bits of quilt and cover thighs and lips of vulva, leaving only the aperture exposed.... Their modesty would not be so striking were it not that, almost to a woman, the females of this tribe are prostitutes, and for a consideration will admit the connection of any man." (A.B. Holder, American Journal of Obstetrics, vol. xxv, No. 6, 1892.)
"In every North American tribe, from the most northern to the most southern, the skirt of the woman is longer than that of the men. In Esquimau land the parka of deerskin and sealskin reaches to the knees. Throughout Central North America the buckskin dress of the women reached quite to the ankles. The West-Coast women, from Oregon to the Gulf of California, wore a petticoat of shredded bark, of plaited grass, or of strings, upon which were strung hundreds of seeds. Even in the most tropical areas the rule was universal, as anyone can see from the codices or in pictures of the natives." (Otis T. Mason, Woman's Share in Primitive Culture, p. 237.)
Describing the loin-cloth worn by Nicobarese men, Man says: "From the clumsy mode in which this garment is worn by the Shom Pen—necessitating frequent readjustment of the folds—one is led to infer that its use is not de rigueur, but reserved for special occasions, as when receiving or visiting strangers." (E.H. Man, Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1886, p. 442.)
The semi-nude natives of the island of Nias in the Indian Ocean are "modest by nature," paying no attention to their own nudity or that of others, and much scandalized by any attempt to go beyond the limits ordained by custom. When they pass near places where women are bathing they raise their voices in order to warn them of their presence, and even although any bold youth addressed the women, and the latter replied, no attempt would be made to approach them; any such attempt would be severely punished by the head man of the village. (Modigliani, Un Viaggio a Nias, p. 460.)
Man says that the Andamanese in modesty and self-respect compare favorably with many classes among civilized peoples. "Women are so modest that they will not renew their leaf-aprons in the presence of one another, but retire to a secluded spot for this purpose; even when parting with one of their bod appendages [tails of leaves suspended from back of girdle] to a female friend, the delicacy they manifest for the feelings of the bystanders in their mode of removing it amounts to prudishness; yet they wear no clothing in the ordinary sense." (Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1883, pp. 94 and 331.)
Of the Garo women of Bengal Dalton says: "Their sole garment is a piece of cloth less than a foot in width that just meets around the loins, and in order that it may not restrain the limbs it is only fastened where it meets under the hip at the upper corners. The girls are thus greatly restricted in the positions they may modestly assume, but decorum is, in their opinion, sufficiently preserved if they only keep their legs well together when they sit or kneel." (E.T. Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, 1872, p. 66.)
Of the Naga women of Assam it is said: "Of clothing there was not much to see; but in spite of this I doubt whether we could excel them in true decency and modesty. Ibn Muhammed Wali had already remarked in his history of the conquest of Assam (1662-63), that the Naga women only cover their breasts. They declare that it is absurd to cover those parts of the body which everyone has been able to see from their births, but that it is different with the breasts, which appeared later, and are, therefore, to be covered. Dalton (Journal of the Asiatic Society, Bengal, 41, 1, 84) adds that in the presence of strangers Naga women simply cross their arms over their breasts, without caring much what other charms they may reveal to the observer. As regards some clans of the naked Nagas, to whom the Banpara belong, this may still hold good." (K. Klemm, "Peal's Ausflug nach Banpara," Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie, 1898, Heft 5, p. 334.)
"In Ceylon, a woman always bathes in public streams, but she never removes all her clothes. She washes under the cloth, bit by bit, and then slips on the dry, new cloth, and pulls out the wet one from underneath (much in the same sliding way as servant girls and young women in England). This is the common custom in India and the Malay States. The breasts are always bare in their own houses, but in the public roads are covered whenever a European passes. The vulva is never exposed. They say that a devil, imagined as a white and hairy being, might have intercourse with them." (Private communication.)
In Borneo, "the sirat, called chawal by the Malays, is a strip of cloth a yard wide, worn round the loins and in between the thighs, so as to cover the pudenda and perinaeum; it is generally six yards or so in length, but the younger men of the present generation use as much as twelve or fourteen yards (sometimes even more), which they twist and coil with great precision round and round their body, until the waist and stomach are fully enveloped in its folds." (H. Ling Roth, "Low's Natives of Borneo," Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1892, p. 36.)
"In their own houses in the depths of the forest the Dwarfs are said to neglect coverings for decency in the men as in the women, but certainly when they emerge from the forest into the villages of the agricultural Negroes, they are always observed to be wearing some small piece of bark-cloth or skin, or a bunch of leaves over the pudenda. Elsewhere in all the regions of Africa visited by the writer, or described by other observers, a neglect of decency in the male has only been recorded among the Efik people of Old Calabar. The nudity of women is another question. In parts of West Africa, between the Niger and the Gaboon (especially on the Cameroon River, at Old Calabar, and in the Niger Delta), it is, or was, customary for young women to go about completely nude before they were married. In Swaziland, until quite recently, unmarried women and very often matrons went stark naked. Even amongst the prudish Baganda, who made it a punishable offense for a man to expose any part of his leg above the knee, the wives of the King would attend at his Court perfectly naked. Among the Kavirondo, all unmarried girls are completely nude, and although women who have become mothers are supposed to wear a tiny covering before and behind, they very often completely neglect to do so when in their own villages. Yet, as a general rule, among the Nile Negroes, and still more markedly among the Hamites and people of Masai stock, the women are particular about concealing the pudenda, whereas the men are ostentatiously naked. The Baganda hold nudity in the male to be such an abhorrent thing that for centuries they have referred with scorn and disgust to the Nile Negroes as the 'naked people.' Male nudity extends northwest to within some 200 miles of Khartum, or, in fact, wherever the Nile Negroes of the Dinka-Acholi stock inhabit the country." (Sir H.H. Johnston, Uganda Protectorate, vol. ii, pp. 669-672.)
Among the Nilotic Ja-luo, Johnston states that "unmarried men go naked. Married men who have children wear a small piece of goat skin, which, though quite inadequate for purposes of decency, is, nevertheless, a very important thing in etiquette, for a married man with a child must on no account call on his mother-in-law without wearing this piece of goat's skin. To call on her in a state of absolute nudity would be regarded as a serious insult, only to be atoned for by the payment of goats. Even if under the new dispensation he wears European trousers, he must have a piece of goat's skin underneath. Married women wear a tail of strings behind." It is very bad manners for a woman to serve food to her husband without putting on this tail. (Sir H.H. Johnston, Uganda Protectorate, vol. ii, p. 781.)
Mrs. French-Sheldon remarks that the Masai and other East African tribes, with regard to menstruation, "observe the greatest delicacy, and are more than modest." (Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1894, p. 383.)
At the same time the Masai, among whom the penis is of enormous size, consider it disreputable to conceal that member, and in the highest degree reputable to display it, even ostentatiously. (Sir H.H. Johnston, Kilima-njaro Expedition, p. 413.)
Among the African Dinka, who are scrupulously clean and delicate (smearing themselves with burnt cows' dung, and washing themselves daily with cows' urine), and are exquisite cooks, reaching in many respects a higher stage of civilization, in Schweinfurth's opinion, than is elsewhere attained in Africa, only the women wear aprons. The neighboring tribes of the red soil—Bongo, Mittoo, Niam-Niam, etc.—are called "women" by the Dinka, because among these tribes the men wear an apron, while the women obstinately refuse to wear any clothes whatsoever of skin or stuff, going into the woods every day, however, to get a supple bough for a girdle, with, perhaps, a bundle of fine grass. (Schweinfurth, Heart of Africa, vol. i, pp. 152, etc.)
Lombroso and Carrara, examining some Dinka negroes brought from the White Nile, remark: "As to their psychology, what struck us first was the exaggeration of their modesty; not in a single case would the men allow us to examine their genital organs or the women their breasts; we examined the tattoo-marks on the chest of one of the women, and she remained sad and irritable for two days afterward." They add that in sexual and all other respects these people are highly moral. (Lombroso and Carrara, Archivio di Psichiatria, 1896, vol. xvii, fasc. 4.)
"The negro is very rarely knowingly indecent or addicted to lubricity," says Sir H.H. Johnston. "In this land of nudity, which I have known for seven years, I do not remember once having seen an indecent gesture on the part of either man or woman, and only very rarely (and that not among unspoiled savages) in the case of that most shameless member of the community—the little boy." He adds that the native dances are only an apparent exception, being serious in character, though indecent to our eyes, almost constituting a religious ceremony. The only really indecent dance indigenous to Central Africa "is one which originally represented the act of coition, but it is so altered to a stereotyped formula that its exact purport is not obvious until explained somewhat shyly by the natives.... It may safely be asserted that the negro race in Central Africa is much more truly modest, is much more free from real vice, than are most European nations. Neither boys nor girls wear clothing (unless they are the children of chiefs) until nearing the age of puberty. Among the Wankonda, practically no covering is worn by the men except a ring of brass wire around the stomach. The Wankonda women are likewise almost entirely naked, but generally cover the pudenda with a tiny bead-work apron, often a piece of very beautiful workmanship, and exactly resembling the same article worn by Kaffir women. A like degree of nudity prevails among many of the Awemba, among the A-lungu, the Batumbuka, and the Angoni. Most of the Angoni men, however, adopt the Zulu fashion of covering the glans penis with a small wooden case or the outer shell of a fruit. The Wa-Yao have a strong sense of decency in matters of this kind, which is the more curious since they are more given to obscenity in their rites, ceremonies, and dances than any other tribe. Not only is it extremely rare to see any Yao uncovered, but both men and women have the strongest dislike to exposing their persons even to the inspection of a doctor. The Atonga and many of the A-nyanga people, and all the tribes west of Nyassa (with the exception possibly of the A-lunda) have not the Yao regard for decency, and, although they can seldom or ever be accused of a deliberate intention to expose themselves, the men are relatively indifferent as to whether their nakedness is or is not concealed, though the women are modest and careful in this respect." (H.H. Johnston, British Central Africa, 1897, pp. 408-419.)
In Azimba land, Central Africa, H. Crawford Angus, who has spent many years in this part of Africa, writes: "It has been my experience that the more naked the people, and the more to us obscene and shameless their manners and customs, the more moral and strict they are in the matter of sexual intercourse." He proceeds to give a description of the chensamwali, or initiation ceremony of girls at puberty, a season of rejoicing when the girl is initiated into all the secrets of marriage, amid songs and dances referring to the act of coition. "The whole matter is looked upon as a matter of course, and not as a thing to be ashamed of or to hide, and, being thus openly treated of and no secrecy made about it, you find in this tribe that the women are very virtuous. They know from the first all that is to be known, and cannot see any reason for secrecy concerning natural laws or the powers and senses that have been given them from birth." (Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie, 1898, Heft 6, p. 479.)
Of the Monbuttu of Central Africa, another observer says: "It is surprising how a Monbuttu woman of birth can, without the aid of dress, impress others with her dignity and modesty." (British Medical Journal. June 14, 1890.)
"The women at Upoto wear no clothes whatever, and came up to us in the most unreserved manner. An interesting gradation in the arrangement of the female costume has been observed by us: as we ascended the Congo, the higher up the river we found ourselves, the higher the dress reached, till it has now, at last, culminated in absolute nudity." (T.H. Parke, My Personal Experiences in Equatorial Africa, 1891, p. 61.)
"There exists throughout the Congo population a marked appreciation of the sentiment of decency and shame as applied to private actions," says Mr. Herbert Ward. In explanation of the nudity of the women at Upoto, a chief remarked to Ward that "concealment is food for the inquisitive." (Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1895, p. 293.)
In the Gold Coast and surrounding countries complete nudity is extremely rare, except when circumstances make it desirable; on occasion clothing is abandoned with unconcern. "I have on several occasions," says Dr. Freeman, "seen women at Accra walk from the beach, where they have been bathing, across the road to their houses, where they would proceed to dry themselves, and resume their garments; and women may not infrequently be seen bathing in pools by the wayside, conversing quite unconstrainedly with their male acquaintances, who are seated on the bank. The mere unclothed body conveys to their minds no idea of indecency. Immodesty and indelicacy of manner are practically unknown." He adds that the excessive zeal of missionaries in urging their converts to adopt European dress—which they are only too ready to do—is much to be regretted, since the close-fitting, thin garments are really less modest than the loose clothes they replace, besides being much less cleanly. (R.A. Freeman, Travels and Life in Ashanti and Jaman, 1898, p. 379.)
At Loango, says Pechuel-Loesche, "the well-bred negress likes to cover her bosom, and is sensitive to critical male eyes; if she meets a European when without her overgarment, she instinctively, though not without coquetry, takes the attitude of the Medicean Venus." Men and women bathe separately, and hide themselves from each other when naked. The women also exhibit shame when discovered suckling their babies. (Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie, 1878, pp. 27-31.)
The Koran (Sura XXIV) forbids showing the pudenda, as well as the face, yet a veiled Mohammedan woman, Stern remarks, even in the streets of Constantinople, will stand still and pull up her clothes to scratch her private parts, and in Beyrout, he saw Turkish prostitutes, still veiled, place themselves in the position for coitus. (B. Stern, Medizin, etc., in der Tuerkei, vol. ii, p. 162.)
"An Englishman surprised a woman while bathing in the Euphrates; she held her hands over her face, without troubling as to what else the stranger might see. In Egypt, I have myself seen quite naked young peasant girls, who hastened to see us, after covering their faces." (C. Niebuhr, Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien, 1774, vol. i, p. 165.)
When Helfer was taken to visit the ladies in the palace of the Imam of Muskat, at Buscheir, he found that their faces were covered with black masks, though the rest of the body might be clothed in a transparent sort of crape; to look at a naked face was very painful to the ladies themselves; even a mother never lifts the mask from the face of her daughter after the age of twelve; that is reserved for her lord and husband. "I observed that the ladies looked at me with a certain confusion, and after they had glanced into my face, lowered their eyes, ashamed. On making inquiries, I found that my uncovered face was indecent, as a naked person would be to us. They begged me to assume a mask, and when a waiting-woman had bound a splendidly decorated one round my head, they all exclaimed: 'Tahip! tahip!'—beautiful, beautiful." (J.W. Helfer, Reisen in Vorderasian und Indien, vol. ii, p. 12.)
In Algeria—in the provinces of Constantine, in Biskra, even Aures,—"among the women especially, not one is restrained by any modesty in unfastening her girdle to any comer" (when a search was being made for tattoo-marks on the lower extremities). "In spite of the great licentiousness of the manners," the same writer continues, "the Arab and the Kabyle possess great personal modesty, and with difficulty are persuaded to exhibit the body nude; is it the result of real modesty, or of their inveterate habits of active pederasty? Whatever the cause, they always hide the sexual organs with their hands or their handkerchiefs, and are disagreeably affected even by the slightest touch of the doctor." (Batut, Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, January 15, 1893.)
"Moslem modesty," remarks Wellhausen, "was carried to great lengths, insufficient clothing being forbidden. It was marked even among the heathen Arabs, as among Semites and old civilizations generally; we must not be deceived by the occasional examples of immodesty in individual cases. The Sunna prescribes that a man shall not uncover himself even to himself, and shall not wash naked—from fear of God and of spirits; Job did so, and atoned for it heavily. When in Arab antiquity grown-up persons showed themselves naked, it was only under extraordinary circumstances, and to attain unusual ends.... Women when mourning uncovered not only the face and bosom, but also tore all their garments. The messenger who brought bad news tore his garments. A mother desiring to bring pressure to bear on her son took off her clothes. A man to whom vengeance is forbidden showed his despair and disapproval by uncovering his posterior and strewing earth on his head, or by raising his garment behind and covering his head with it. This was done also in fulfilling natural necessities." (Wellhausen, Reste Arabischen Heidentums, 1897, pp. 173, 195-196.)
Mantegazza mentions that a Lapland woman refused even for the sum of 150 francs to allow him to photograph her naked, though the men placed themselves before the camera in the costume of Adam for a much smaller sum. In the same book Mantegazza remarks that in the eighteenth century, travelers found it extremely difficult to persuade Samoyed women to show themselves naked. Among the same people, he says, the newly-married wife must conceal her face from her husband for two months after marriage, and only then yield to his embraces. (Mantegazza, La Donna, cap. IV.)
"The beauty of a Chinese woman," says Dr. Matignon, "resides largely in her foot. 'A foot which is not deformed is a dishonor,' says a poet. For the husband the foot is more interesting than the face. Only the husband may see his wife's foot naked. A Chinese woman is as reticent in showing her feet to a man as a European woman her breasts. I have often had to treat Chinese women with ridiculously small feet for wounds and excoriations, the result of tight-bandaging. They exhibited the prudishness of school-girls, blushed, turned their backs to unfasten the bandages, and then concealed the foot in a cloth, leaving only the affected part uncovered. Modesty is a question of convention; Chinese have it for their feet," (J. Matignon, "A propos d'un Pied de Chinoise," Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, 1898, p. 445.)
Among the Yakuts of Northeast Siberia, "there was a well-known custom according to which a bride should avoid showing herself or her uncovered body to her father-in-law. In ancient times, they say, a bride concealed herself for seven years from her father-in-law, and from the brothers and other masculine relations of her husband.... The men also tried not to meet her, saying, 'The poor child will be ashamed.' If a meeting could not be avoided the young woman put a mask on her face.... Nowadays, the young wives only avoid showing to their male relatives-in-law the uncovered body. Amongst the rich they avoid going about in the presence of these in the chemise alone. In some places, they lay especial emphasis on the fact that it is a shame for young wives to show their uncovered hair and feet to the male relatives of their husbands. On the other side, the male relatives of the husband ought to avoid showing to the young wife the body uncovered above the elbow or the sole of the foot, and they ought to avoid indecent expressions and vulgar vituperations in her presence.... That these observances are not the result of a specially delicate modesty, is proved by the fact that even young girls constantly twist thread upon the naked thigh, unembarrassed by the presence of men who do not belong to the household; nor do they show any embarrassment if a strange man comes upon them when uncovered to the waist. The one thing which they do not like, and at which they show anger, is that such persons look carefully at their uncovered feet.... The former simplicity, with lack of shame in uncovering the body, is disappearing." (Sieroshevski, "The Yakuts," Journal of the Anthropological Institute, Jan.-June, 1901, p. 93.)
"In Japan (Captain —— tells me), the bathing-place of the women was perfectly open (the shampooing, indeed, was done by a man), and Englishmen were offered no obstacle, nor excited the least repugnance; indeed, girls after their bath would freely pass, sometimes as if holding out their hair for innocent admiration, and this continued until countrymen of ours, by vile laughter and jests, made them guard themselves from insult by secrecy. So corruption spreads, and heathenism is blacker by our contact." (Private communication.)
"Speaking once with a Japanese gentleman, I observed that we considered it an act of indecency for men and women to wash together. He shrugged his shoulders as he answered: 'But these Westerns have such prurient minds!'" (Mitford, Tales of Old Japan, 1871.)
Dr. Carl Davidsohn, who remarks that he had ample opportunity of noting the great beauty of the Japanese women in a national dance, performed naked, points out that the Japanese have no aesthetic sense for the nude. "This was shown at the Jubilee Exposition at Kyoto. Here, among many rooms full of art objects, one was devoted to oil pictures in the European manner. Among these only one represented a nude figure, a Psyche, or Truth. It was the first time such a picture had been seen. Men and women crowded around it. After they had gazed at it for a time, most began to giggle and laugh; some by their air and gestures clearly showed their disgust; all found that it was not aesthetic to paint a naked woman, though in Nature, nakedness was in no way offensive to them. In the middle of the same city, at a fountain reputed to possess special virtues, men and women will stand together naked and let the water run over them." (Carl Davidsohn, "Das Nackte bei den Japanern," Globus, 1896, No. 16.)
"It is very difficult to investigate the hairiness of Ainu women," Baelz remarks, "for they possess a really incredible degree of modesty. Even when in summer they bathe—which happens but seldom—they keep their clothes on." He records that he was once asked to examine a girl at the Mission School, in order to advise as regards the treatment of a diseased spine; although she had been at the school for seven years, she declared that "she would rather die than show her back to a man, even though a doctor." (Baelz, "Die Aino," Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie, 1901, Heft 2, p. 178.)
The Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans, appear to have been accustomed to cover the foreskin with the kynodesme (a band), or the fibula (a ring), for custom and modesty demanded that the glans should be concealed. Such covering is represented in persons who were compelled to be naked, and is referred to by Celsus as "decori causa." (L. Stieda, "Anatomisch-archaeologische Studien," Anatomische Hefte, Bd. XIX, Heft 2, 1902.)
"Among the Lydians, and, indeed, among the barbarians generally, it is considered a deep disgrace, even for a man, to be seen naked." (Herodotus, Book I, Chapter X.)
"The simple dress which is now common was first worn in Sparta, and there, more than anywhere else, the life of the rich was assimilated to that of the people. The Lacedaemonians, too, were the first who, in their athletic exercises, stripped naked and rubbed themselves over with oil. This was not the ancient custom; athletes formerly, even when they were contending at Olympia, wore girdles about their loins [earlier still, the Mycenaeans had always worn a loin-cloth], a practice which lasted until quite lately, and still persists among barbarians, especially those of Asia, where the combatants at boxing and wrestling matches wear girdles." (Thucydides, History, Book I, Chapter VI.)
"The notion of the women exercising naked in the schools with the men ... at the present day would appear truly ridiculous.... Not long since it was thought discreditable and ridiculous among the Greeks, as it is now among most barbarous nations, for men to be seen naked. And when the Cretans first, and after them the Lacedaemonians, began the practice of gymnastic exercises, the wits of the time had it in their power to make sport of those novelties.... As for the man who laughs at the idea of undressed women going through gymnastic exercises, as a means of revealing what is most perfect, his ridicule is but 'unripe fruit plucked from the tree of wisdom.'" (Plato, Republic, Book V.)
According to Plutarch, however, among the Spartans, at all events, nakedness in women was not ridiculous, since the institutes of Lycurgus ordained that at solemn feasts and sacrifices the young women should dance naked and sing, the young men standing around in a circle to see and hear them. Aristotle says that in his time Spartan girls only wore a very slight garment. As described by Pausanias, and as shown by a statue in the Vatican, the ordinary tunic, which was the sole garment worn by women when running, left bare the right shoulder and breast, and only reached to the upper third of the thighs. (M.M. Evans, Chapters on Greek Dress, p. 34.)
Among the Greeks who were inclined to accept the doctrines of Cynicism, it was held that, while shame is not unreasonable, what is good may be done and discussed before all men. There are a number of authorities who say that Crates and Hipparchia consummated their marriage in the presence of many spectators. Lactantius (Inst. iii, 15) says that the practice was common, but this Zeller is inclined to doubt. (Zeller, Socrates and the Socratic Schools, translated from the Third German Edition, 1897.)
"Among the Tyrrhenians, who carry their luxury to an extraordinary pitch, Timaeus, in his first book, relates that the female servants wait on the men in a state of nudity. And Theopompus, in the forty-third book of his History, states that it is a law among the Tyrrhenians that all their women should be in common; and that the women pay the greatest attention to their persons, and often practice gymnastic exercises, naked, among the men, and sometimes with one another; for that it is not accounted shameful for them to be seen naked.... Nor is it reckoned among the Tyrrhenians at all disgraceful either to do or suffer anything in the open air, or to be seen while it is going on; for it is quite the custom of their country, and they are so far from thinking it disgraceful that they even say, when the master of the house is indulging his appetite, and anyone asks for him, that he is doing so and so, using the coarsest possible words.... And they are very beautiful, as is natural for people to be who live delicately, and who take care of their persons." (Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, Yonge's translation, vol. iii, p. 829.)
Dennis throws doubt on the foregoing statement of Athenaeus regarding the Tyrrhenians or Etruscans, and points out that the representations of women in Etruscan tombs shows them as clothed, even the breast being rarely uncovered. Nudity, he remarks, was a Greek, not an Etruscan, characteristic. "To the nudity of the Spartan women I need but refer; the Thessalian women are described by Persaeus dancing at banquets naked, or with a very scanty covering (apud Athenaeus, xiii, c. 86). The maidens of Chios wrestled naked with the youths in the gymnasium, which Athenaeus (xiii, 20) pronounces to be 'a beautiful sight.' And at the marriage feast of Caranus, the Macedonian women tumblers performed naked before the guests (Athenaeus, iv, 3)." (G. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, 1883, vol. i, p. 321.)