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I have no similar experiments to quote in regard to the human male, but I have little doubt that similar results would be observed were the semen examined in persons accustomed to marital excesses. Those, therefore, who are desirous of procreating healthy offspring would do well to bear this advice of mine in mind, and the results will show that the advantages of self-restraint are much more numerous than are generally supposed.
IMPOTENCE is the term given to all those morbid conditions in man or woman which are opposed to the physiological union of the two sexes, that is to say, coition; or, in less accurate language, it may be said to be general inability to consummate marriage. STERILITY is the term reserved for all those morbid states, which, either in the one or other sex, prevent the reproduction of the species. When, however, the term sterility is mentioned, it more especially applies to the female, and is synonymous with barrenness.
Impotency or Impotence is usually applied to the man. It may be, perhaps, best described under the two divisions
1. Temporary or false Impotence. 2. True Impotence.
7. Temporary, or False Impotence.
TEMPORARY Impotence may depend either
FIRSTLY.-Upon sexual indifference or temporary absence of desire.
SECONDLY.—There may be desire, but when sexual intercourse is attempted there is temporary absence or deficiency of power. These two forms may exist separately, but they so frequently run the one into the other, that I shall describe them together.
I. SEXUAL INDIFFERENCE OR TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF DESIRE.
We have treated in preceding pages of the evil of any excess in the indulgence of the sex-passions; we now come to the consideration of at least as great an evil, the partial or total absence of the passion itself.
SEXUAL INDIFFERENCE AMONG SINGLE MEN.-This condition may arise from a variety of causes. We find, for instance, that some men reach adult age without having experienced any sexual desire at all. That complete sexual quiescence which we have noticed as being the proper condition of childhood continues in cases such as we are describing, during the period of youth, and even into adult age.
In some it is only at an unusually late period that the natural sexual desire commences; this delay in the development of the reproductive powers gives rise to a variety of surmises, but curiously enough the patient himself is the last person alarmed at the delay in the appearance of sexual feeling, and it is often only accidentally that a medical man is consulted about it at all.
Prognosis.—It does not necessarily follow in such cases that the existing impotence is anything but temporary. In the case described above, there may be a late development of the organs. Instead of the young man being precocious, circumstances may simply have delayed the structural and functional maturing of the testes, which, under proper treatment, may still be perfected.
Treatment.-It must naturally be inferred that little can be done in the alleviation of this form of the complaint, except waiting patiently the results of puberty, and by every means in our power invigorating the patient's constitution. Marriage, of course, must not be thought of so long as the sexual powers are undeveloped.
There is another and very different cause which often produces a kind of temporary impotence, that creates much unnecessary anxiety. The student, who previously has experienced all the sexual desires common to his age, all at once, during any strenuous and long-continued mental exertion while he is absorbed in his studies, finds all sexual feelings annihilated. Men who are or have recently been reading hard at the universities frequently come to me complaining of impotence, which I am happy enough to prove to them is only temporary, and to be easily accounted for. It is undoubtedly true that such persons are temporarily impotent. Nature has wisely ordained that the secretion of the testes may be temporarily arrested. Whenever the brain is overtaxed, or any prolonged muscular exertion is taken, sexual desire may cease, but it is quite certain that if the reproductive organs are healthy and have not been abused, sexual feelings and powers will return as soon as the overtaxed brain or muscles are allowed to regain their normal condition.
There is another phase of this affection. A young man has been continent all his life. When his studies are completed, and his university career is drawing to a close, he forms an attachment which in every way is desirable, but he dreads or thinks he has reason to believe himself impotent. If the patient is occasionally subject to nocturnal emissions, or if he passes some slightly tenacious fluid when going to the water-closet or after passing water, he imagines that these are signs of impotency, and he further errs in thinking that kis happiness is marred—that he is incapable of marriage. If, unfortunately, he has been guilty as a boy of self-abuse the conviction comes home to bim that he deserves all this personal chastisement now heaped upon him; and with all the self-sacrifice of the youth he deems himself unworthy to have a wife, and proposes breaking off the engagement, declaring that whatever his own sufferings may be he never will sacrifice those of the woman he had selected to be his partner. It is well if such a man, in this despondent mood, consults a competent and judicious medical man. In too many instances pride, or his stricken conscience, or ignorance, or the fear of entrusting his secret to any human ear, brings about a state of mental and bodily prostration that must be seen to be appreciated. No one but those who have witnessed the condition of the sufferer can form any idea of the hell upon earth which these consciencestricken penitents carve out for themselves. I can testify to the enormous numbers that annually consult us, and well it is for them if they do not resort to the quacks. It is such sufferers as these that furnish funds for the advertising firms who fill the pages of some of our country and London journals with their trashy advertisements. These harpies fatten on the ignorances and prejudices of such patients, humor their fears, increasing and exaggerating the supposed consequences, and only turn them adrift when they have emptied their pockets. If, however, a sympathetic and competet medical man be consulted, he can conscientiously inform them, that a youth who first falls in love is often beset by these alarms, which I have classed under the symptoms of false impotence, and that a little sympathy on the part of the surgeon, with some confidence on the part of the patient, and the treatment recommended at page 77, will suffice to effect a cure and enable him to marry, when all his alarms will cease by the proof that his sexual powers have been unimpaired, and that without care on his part, the patient may rather be in danger of giving way to the marital excesses alluded to at page 148.
It should be recollected that there are other causes producing indifference to the opposite sex and deficiency in manly vigor. The most common of such causes is the wretched habit of masturbation, of which we have already treated. A youth who masturbates himself and continues the practice as he grows up to manhood, may evince, even after he has arrived at the marriageable age, no disposition towards the other sex. Only his own solitary pleasure can give him any gratification; as far as women are concerned, he is virtually impotent. Lallemand gives the following perhaps rather tool graphic account of such a person's state of feeling towards the opposite sex :-“ Their solitary vice has a tendency to separate those practising it from women. At first, of course, it is on the sex that their thoughts dwell, and they embellish an ideal being with all the charms of imaginary perfection; the habit, however, which enslaves them little by little, changes and depraves the nature of their ideas, and at last leaves nothing but indifference for the very reality of which the image has been so constantly evoked to aid their criminal indulgence. At a later period, when erection is only temporary and is too incomplete for them to think of sexual intercourse, they abandon themselves with fury to their fatal habit, notwithstanding the almost complete flaccidity in which the erectile tissues are left. At this period the handsomest woman only inspires these patients with repugnance and disgust; and they ultimately acquire an instinctive aversion, a real hatred for the sex. They dare not always let their feelings on this subject escape them, from fear of their shameful vice being suspected or the humiliating condition to which they are reduced being discovered; but they lose no opportunity of, as it were, revenging themselves for the repugnance which they believe they produce in women, and which in truth they do inspire, in consequence of the instinctive reciprocity of such feelings that is inevitable." (Vol. iii, page 114.)
1 I think I ought at once to state that, although we are very much indebted to this distinguished Professor for having written a most valuable treatise on seminal losses, yet the reader must not be led away with the idea that every young man who has been a victim to the vice would suffer as described in this paragraph, or that I would say, ex uno disce omnes." We must consider these as symptoms in sufferers who have carried the vice to its utmost limits; and the illustrations are not given as ordinary typical cases, but as the most strongly marked. I have cited Lallemand for this reason, but I may add, that in my extensive experience I have seldom met with such cases as these, and when I have done so it has usually been in persons who, from having had no one to consult or sympathize with them, have exaggerated their miseries by morbidly dwelling upon them.
This perversion of the natural excitement causing temporary impotence is among one of the saddest pictures which suffering humanity can show. A striking instance of the kind has lately come under my care, as the following letter will prove :
LONDON. My dear Sir,-A few minutes after this reaches you I shall follow with the old story. Wine, an attempt at sexual intercourse, and failure, drove me again to the abominable habit. I am determined from henceforth to abstain entirely from stimulants, and also from women, when I do not doubt being able to abstain also from the other. I feel, however, so thoroughly unable to recover without the aid of the local operation, that I must beg of you once more to perform it. I come to you to-day entirely for that purpose. Should you refuse to do it, candor compels me to tell you that you would only drive me to some other practitioner, who would adopt the local treatment in some form or other. In regard to my own feelings, I will only say that my punishment is almost greater than I can bear. I shall bring this note myself, shall therefore probably be in your waiting-room when you receive it. I have