PROPER CONDUCT OF MARITAL RELATIONS AND ACCIDENTAL PARENTAGE.
As marriage and its interests are alike committed to the husband and wife, the "marital rights" of hus bands (which have been for centuries so strongly urged) stand upon precisely the same basis, and de serve no more consideration than the marital rights of wives, which, strange to say, are rarely mentioned, and only properly considered, by comparatively few husbands. These rights should certainly be, at least, half the choice in regard to the time of intercourse and maternity, and all the aid the husbands can give them in the perfect fulfilment of the mother's office.
As directly influencing their children, the right con duct of the genesic action in marriage should be clearly understood by every husband and wife. The fullest possible passional affection should be cherished by both of them, for with women who have been care fully guarded and trained, a feeling quite commonly arises that there is something in the possession of, or indulgence in, the procreative feeling, which is un hallowed or degrading. Many women, mothers, say they have never felt any passional excitement or pleasure in it. This is wrong; as such women are not properly developed, and will, under such circum stances, give to their children only a small part of the power they might bestow. A state of apathy, disgust, or feeling that the creative act is not the purest one a pure marriage can know — deserving all honor in thought or conduct — is wrong, and dishonors our Creator, who intended this highest function to be one of the supremest pleasure. This unjust thought is often punished by its natural result, which is the withholding of the wife's share in the gift of life to her child, and also checks the natural secretions about the pelvic organs, and aids in causing uterine disorders. This state of disgust and apathy in wives towards the marital act is often caused by the fre quency of their husbands' demands; and if men were as temperate as it is for their own interest to be, many of them would have less reason to complain of their wives in this respect. The feeling of aver sion also, arising from personal defect or disease, in either husband or wife, should be earnestly resisted, as it often destroys the harmony of this relation. The feeling of the wife should be only that she will take her husband to her heart, with all love's enfold ing power, and that of the husband that he will be to her a loving protector. True soul union should be habitual, as this enables the parents unitedly to give of the fulness of the powers of both. Beauty and vigor of body and mind are determined greatly by the mutual happiness and completeness of the genesic act. No illegitimate child, born out of the intensest mutual passion, should be, for this reason, as they often are, better endowed than the children of a Christian marriage. There is not a wife who should not strive to surround her husband with the same magnetic attraction which at first drew him to her. It is by this influence that many base women hold almost unlimited sway over husbands whose wives could exert a far stronger one if they would but cultivate and exercise the power they possess.
And the husband should be equally careful to cherish and yield to this hallowed restraining influence.
A mistake frequently made by parents is, that sexual indulgence during pregnancy may be quite unrestrained,• which is an error that may lead to serious consequences. I have known several in stances where from three to six miscarriages occurred successively in individual cases, induced by this cause only, as was fully proved when continence during pregnancy was carefully maintained by the same people until after recovery from delivery, and fine healthy children were the result. I am sure that the child's hold upon the maternal life is loosened, and a consequent enfeebled development results from sex ual intercourse during gestation. Not a few among our good physiologists urge continence during this period. It has been my privilege to note results where this rule has been observed, and in every in stance the good has been apparent, showing itself in the child's increased vigor and diminished excita bility. I am persuaded this is the better way. In those husbands whose power of self-control is weak ened, and the sexual relations of marriage cannot be wholly laid aside, the least possible indulgence should taken, and that in the middle of the regular men strual month. It is a fact well understood that with the whole animal creation, with few exceptions, the fe male resists the genesic act after conception. Woman is not an exception to this rule. In healthful condi tions there is little or no desire of this kind, and every effort to rouse it is wrong. I am sure that, the more perfect the exemption of the prospective mother from such feelings, the better. From careful observation of the outcome of cases where there was much aph rodisiac activity in pregnant women, I have come to regard it as an unnatural symptom, so much so that its continuance should be made known to and care fully watched by the family medical attendant, for some actual uterine or central nervous irritation will generally be found. Without exception, in these cases of pre-natal sexual excitement in mothers, we find some defect in the nervous system of the child. A little girl, from an estimable family, showed signs of unusual erotic excitement at a very early age, which, at fifteen, resulted in defined nymphomania. This child's tendency was clearly traceable to this cause, and an infant son who died from brain trouble had a similar ante-natal maternal influence. There were pin worms and eruptive disorders affecting the pro creative organs of the mother, both of which were causes of irritation entirely removable by proper medical treatment, and such cases should receive due attention. If sexual excitability in pregnancy is caused by incipient brain disease, as sometimes happens with those who have been inclined to much head trouble, it is apt to be attended with persistent sleeplessness and a general fretfulness and unrest, which seems often like consummate ugliness of temper. These symptoms are of grave import and need the best medical care.