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be readily remedied by him. It is always advisable to ask the medical adviser to examine babies for any existing trouble and abnormality of the sexual organs, as a tight, adherent, or elongated foreskin in boys -and rarely a corresponding condition in girlsmay give rise to much local irritation and remote nervous disturbances. The presence of worms may lead to irritation in the bowel, which excites masturbation in children. Girl babies should be watched to prevent them from irritating the external sexual parts by rubbing them between the inner surfaces of the thighs. As the child begins to play with other children he or she should be cautioned to avoid those who in any way try to thwart the parents' advice, and be instructed to report all such occurrences. It is wise also to try and gratify the child's natural curiosity about the sexual function so far as may be judicious by explanations as to the purpose of the sexual organs, when the child is old enough to comprehend such matters.

The reticence and disinclination of parents to instruct their children in matters relating to sex cannot be too strongly condemned. It is perfectly natural that the youth should wish to know something of the origin of life and how human beings come into the world. The mystery and concealment thrown around these matters only serve to stimulate his curiosity. It is a habit of most parents to rebuke any questions relating to this subject as improper and immodest, and the first lesson the child learns is to associate the idea

of shame with the sexual organs; and, since he is not enlightened by his natural instructors, he picks up his knowledge of the sex function in a haphazard way from older and often depraved companions.

Evasive replies with the intent of staving off the dreaded explanation do no good and may result in unexpected evil. By securing the child's confidence at the start, one may not only keep informed of his actions but protect him from seeking or even listening to bad counsels. At the age of ten or twelve it is well that the family physician or parent should give instruction as to the special harm which results from unnaturally exciting the sexual nature by handling and stimulating the sexual organs and also warning the child against filthy literature and improper companions. At the age of puberty he should be warned against the moral and physical dangers of sexual intercourse with lewd women. The physical dangers refer to the great possibility of infection with one or both of the common diseases-syphilis and gonorrhea -acquired by sexual contact with one suffering from these terrible disorders (p. 199). It is usually quite impossible for a layman to detect the presence of these diseases in others, or rather, to be sure of their absence, and the permanent damage which may be wrought to the sufferer and to others with whom he may have sexual relations is incalculable. It is generally known that syphilis is a disease to be dreaded, but not perhaps that it not only endangers the life

and happiness of the patient, but the future generation of his descendants. Gonorrhea-the much more common disease-while often treated lightly by youth, frequently leads to long, chronic, local disease and may even result fatally in death; later in life it may cause infection of a wife resulting in chronic invalidism and necessitating surgical removal of her maternal organs. These possibilities often occur long after the patient thinks he is wholly free from the disease. Gonorrhea in women is the most frequent cause of their sterility, and also is a common source of abortion and premature birth. It is the cause in most cases of blindness in infants (p. 205) and also of vulvo-vaginitis in girl babies. Furthermore, gonorrhea is so alarmingly prevalent that it is stated on good authority that the disease occurs in eighty per cent of all males some time during their lives. The disease is not confined to prostitutes, but is common, much more frequently than is suspected, in all walks and classes of life and at all ages. Even among boys attending boarding

schools and similar institutions the disease is only too frequent. It is particularly important that the true situation be explained to boys about to enter college or a business career, for it is at this period of life that their temptations become greatest. Alcohol is the most dangerous foe-next to bad companions— with which they must contend in this matter, for, weakened by its influence and associated with persua-sive friends, their will gives way and the advice and

warning, which they may have received, are forgotten. Idleness is also another influential factor in indirectly causing sexual disease; hard physical and mental work are powerful correctives of the passions.

It may be of interest to readers to know that but recently an association of American physicians, alarmed by the fearful prevalence of sexual diseases in this country, has been taking measures to inform youths and adults and the general public, through special instruction in schools, and by means of pamphlets and lectures to teachers and others, of the prevalence and great danger of this evil.

When young adult life has been attained it is also desirable for the parent, or the family physician, to inform the young man or woman-especially if either is about to enter a marriage engagement-that close and frequent personal contact with the opposite sex, especially when the affections are involved, will necessarily, though involuntarily, excite local stimulation of the sexual organs and general irritability and exhaustion of the entire nervous system. Long engagements-when the participants are frequent companions are thus peculiarly unfortunate. It is only when the sexual functions are normally exercised in adult life, as in sexual intercourse, that sexual excitement is not harmful.

Young women about to marry should receive instruction from their mothers as to the sexual relations which will exist after marriage. Most girls are al

lowed to grow up ignorant of such matters and in consequence may become greatly shocked and even disgusted by the sexual relations in marriage-fancying that there must be something unnatural and wrong about them because the subject was avoided by those responsible for their welfare.

Any excess in frequency of sexual intercourse after marriage is followed by feelings of depression and debility of some sort which may be readily attributed to the cause and so corrected. Any deviation from the natural mode of intercourse is pretty certain to lead to physical disaster; thus, unnatural prolongation of the act, or withdrawal on the part of the man before the natural completion of the act in order to prevent conception, often results in deplorable nervous disorders.

In conclusion, it may be said that parents must take upon themselves the burden of instructing their children in sexual hygiene or shift it upon the shoulders of the family physician, who can undertake it with much less mental perturbation and with more intelligence. Otherwise they subject their offspring to the possibility of incalculable suffering, disease, and even death-largely through their own inexcusable neglect.

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