Although man has the choice of the fittest seasons for procreation, as shown in his ever-present virility, he cannot make this choice if he is not fully master of himself. A few fixed principles in regard to the conduct of marital intercourse should be understood by every husband. It should not occur during periods of exhaustion with either party, but always when rested, as in the morning, or in a time of leisure. It should never be partial, as in onanism. If children are not desired for a time, it should occur during the five days of the inter-menstrual period, after twenty-one days have elapsed from its beginning.. Habit, kind understanding, and mutual restraint, with the husband and wife who have been continent before marriage, will soon make this life easy, satisfactory, and much more healthful than partial intercourse so commonly practised. This vicious course in creases genetic irritations, and so harms the ner vous system, that in those conditions where self control is impossible the use of the shield by the husband is the best safeguard, — though this plan subserves neither health nor happiness, it may prevent the crime of unfit procreation. All such relations of husband and wife should be conducted with the great est gentleness, and the awaking of the genetic feeling should be through the affections, never by mechanical irritation.
Sometimes, in the most favorable marriage, the wife feels little pleasurable sensation until the close of the conjugal act. A careful retarding of it will, after a little time, lead to reciprocal enjoyment.
No healthful man has any more vitality to spare -than the previously designated limit permits, and the sexual act should then never occur oftener than once in twenty-four hours. It may not be known by some that it would be ground for legal prosecution if any more than this degree of exhaustion was permitted to a thoroughbred stallion, as it would make him unfit to sire a foal. We must not forget also that the horse has been kept in the best possible condi tion, and in procreation has not the exhaustive drain age of giving off soul life and intellect.
Few physiologists have failed to notice that at from forty to fifty years in women, and from forty-five to fifty-five in men, in persons of as good physical and moral health as we see in our temperate climate, there comes at intervals a highly exalted activity of the procreative instincts. It seems as if parents were called at this time to bring the maturity of their powers to a crowning creative act. The fulness of experience, a refined judgment, settled principles, a deep and less selfish affection, and hearts grown more true to God and mankind, combine to make this time of life the best season for perfected parent age.
When parents are in fair health, and have been • temperate in their lives, their finest children may be born at this time. For wives, the completed and wisely conducted round of parentage at this period is almost a specific against the so-called hazards of the change of life. I never saw the period passed more happily than in several instances of its con clusion with child-birth and nursing.
A false pride, or fear, on the part of any wife at this time, even though she may have been married late in life, should be sedulously put away, and in its stead the simple order God has arranged in mar riage taken as her guide. I know that living in the relations of marriage as wives should do calls the blood to the pelvis, and, if pregnancy does not occur, some growth or development seems to take its place. Tumors, morbid deposits, and uterine hyper trophy are encouraged by the plans which set aside maternity, and no care of the wisest gynecologist can make good the ill-results of such unnatural living. Following the general instructions given in Chapter VI., there need be little more to fear from motherhood from thirty-five to forty-seven years of age than at any other time of life, and I know there are especial advantages for mothers and children from healthful maternity at this time.