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Healthy and Intellectual Employment and Amusement.—The passive means of abstinence from exciting causes are not, however, the only ones that must be employed in order to maintain that condition of self-restraining health which we desire to see in young men ;-an active hygiene is most essential. Exercise, gymnastics, regular employment, and all agencies that direct the energies of the growing frame to its increase and consolidation, and away from the employment of the reproductive organs, should be regularly used. I am convinced that much of the incontinence of the present day could be avoided by finding amusement, instruction, as well as recreation, for the young men of large towns. Every association or institution which encourages young men to desire to live virtually to consort with one another on the principles of purity and self-denial seems to be worthy of all support and applause. Such bodies of young men are of the greatest use even to those who do not belong to them. They insensibly modify the tone of young men's society. They all help to render vice, at least open vice, unfashionable. This I believe to be one of the many good results arising from the praiseworthy efforts which have now for some years been made by the various Young Men's Christian Associations, to raise the tone of thought and feeling among the middle-class youth of England. Most preceptibly beneficial results, too, have been produced by the institution of reading-rooms, instruction classes, gymnasiums and places for healthy recreation, where young men may pass their leisure hours in a cheerful, agreeable way, and be not only to a great extent withdrawn from temptation, but directly brought under those influences which change those cells (by breaking down others around them) into royal cells, differing considerably from the rest in form, and of much larger dimensions ; and the larvæ when they come forth are supplied with “royal jelly," a pungent, stimulating aliment of a very different nature from the “ bee-bread" which is stored up for the nourishment of the neuters. After going through its transformation, the grub thus treated comes forth a perfect queen, differing from the “neuter” into which it would otherwise have changed not only in the development of the generative apparatus, but also in the form of the body, in the proportionate length of the wings, in the shape of the tongue, jaws, and stings; in the absence of the hollow on the thighs, in which pollen is carried, and in the absence of the power of secreting wax.
above all others lessen the force of that temptation. Every measure that provides healthy and rational occupation for young peoplesuch, for instance, as the government classes for improvement in art, and the throwing open the Kensington Museum for evening instruction—is a step in the right direction, and must tend to realize the one great object of improving the morals of the people.
Much has been written during the last few years on the national advantages of the Volunteer movement. Not the least, in my opinion, of these advantages is the direct influence it has had in promoting continence among our young men, not only by the excellent effect which drilling has had on their physique and health, but by the vigorous and interesting occupation it has afforded them for mind and body. It affords a notable instance of the effect which a well-directed movement, judiciously carried out, can have on the rising generation. Much of the dissipation and libertinage of our youth has depended upon their having had literally nothing to do when their day's work was over.
A pursuit with draws a man away from low society, and encourages him to spend his leisure in healthy and ennobling recreations among his equals, is most profitable to himself and his country. If the Volunteer movement had done nothing more than this, the parents of England would have had ample cause for supporting it. Seeing as much as I do of the private life of young men in England, I can safely say that a healthier tone has sprung up among them of late, dependent, I believe, in great measure, on the love for athletic sports. In the course of years, I trust, it
1 The physical advantages of the Volunteer movement have, of course, struck others besides myself. In a leading article in the “Telegraph” for November, 1861, I read the following observations, which are evidently based on sound reason : "The physical advantages of the rifle-training are also great. A man of loose life or careless habits cannot become a good shot; dissipation over-night does not give either the cool brain or the steady hand absolutely required. In fact, the “training” and “keeping in good condition” required for success in our public matches are, though less harsh, as absolutely needful as those required from oarsmen in the Oxford or Cambridge crews. With such a new national game, loved by young Englishmen, we need not despair of keeping up fully to the old mark the physical and moral manliness of our race.
will be found to have exerted a most beneficial influence on the morals of the country.
I have now, I think, discussed the chief aids to continence. If honestly used, they will, in most cases, enable a young man to conquer in the noble endeavor to obtain and keep the mastery over his passions during the most trying periods of his life. Nevertheless, I should belie my experience as a medical man if I were to represent this struggle as an easy one. It needs the whole energy of any man to succeed completely. No legitimate inducement, therefore, to the effort should be withheld. The greatest of all such inducements undoubtedly is the hope of early marriage; and this I would urgently press on the young, that the continent man is generally the energetic man, and that to the energetic man his trial is likely to be but temporary. He may fairly look forward to the time when he may think of marriage as the happy end to very much of the temptation which now requires so much anxious watchfulness, and even painful effort to subdue.
In the previous editions of this book I treated only of the religious, educational, and hygienic plans for enabling a young man to continue or return to a continent mode of life which were most efficacious, leaving the medical treatment to a subsequent part of the book. Now, however, I propose before going further to show what surgical means there are of assisting the youth in his struggles against the temptations of the flesh.
Experience has taught me that the several remedies already considered, however beneficial in the slighter cases and in those where the sufferers have strong wills, are by themselves perfectly futile in a large proportion of the cases of young men who have little or no determination and perseverance. It is to this class of young men that the medical practitioner can render most important service, more especially when gymnastic remedies alone have been relied on and failed. The examination of a large number of youths teaches me that the sufferers through continence labor under a peculiar sensibility of the reproductive organs. No one who has not closely investigated this subject can have any idea of the morbid sensibility which we meet with,
both externally and internally. If, therefore, we would assist the youth in maintaining continence, we must first of all palliate or remove this nervous hysterical-like sensibility which almost invariably attends such cases.
There are patients who can hardly allow the air to blow upon, or the clothes to touch their sexual organs. Such sensitive persons are afraid of using cold water, they dread the most cursory examination, and declare it would make them faint. The proposal to pass an instrument almost produces a state of catalepsy. In all these cases it is not pain, but the dread of being hurt, apparently, which produces the suffering. Once an examination is submitted to and the confidence of the patient gained, the cure progresses most rapidly. In many instances this morbid irritability is confined to the skin, others only complain when the urethra is touched, or when an instrument passes over some particular portion of the canal, yet a second introduction of the instrument produces no inconvenience. When a surgeon has to treat such nervous patients as these he will not be surprised that previous hygienic precautions or the inculcation of moral restraints have not succeeded in preventing emissions. As soon as these local remedies have dulled the morbid sensibility of the sexual organs, the greatest advantage is at once derived from the moral and hygienic remedies.
In commencing the treatment of such cases the surgeon must evince some firmness of purpose or the patient will not submit. The medical man in his first' essays must be satisfied with moderate progress. In a day or two the patient will often ask him to proceed faster than he is disposed to do, so satisfied is the sufferer of the benefit derived from the remedy. This simple local treatment will often suffice to cure the patient, but in more serious cases it may be necessary to employ instruments and use injections. These, however, will be more particularly alluded to in the chapter on spermatorrhoea, to which I must refer my readers.
I have mentioned in the chapter on Marriage that its consideration as the legitimate hope of the young man who desires to remain continent suggests several questions, on each of which there is some difference of opinion, and neither of which should be omitted from consideration here. I refer to celibacy, early marriages, and early engagements.
When a young man is instructed for the first time (say, by a kind and judicious father), as to the nature of the new sexual sensations he feels within him, and is at once affectionately warned against dangers of which he has hardly suspected the existence hitherto, and urged to adopt the rational means for escaping or overcoming them, his first thought may naturally be—“ Is it really good for me to spend many years of my life without indulging these instincts, which are, after all, according to nature? I have heard of the evils of celibacy, and yet I am urged practically to adopt it.”
Before long, again, other and more difficult questions will arise. A pure and innocent affection awakes within him all that is best and noblest, and in the new delights he exults in having discovered a way of reconciling duty and inclination. He feels, and rightly, that the loyal and, so to speak, sanctified passion he rejoices in, is infinitely better than any illicit indulgences would be; and is, indeed, a preservation from them, more powerful than he had any idea of. May he not joyfully unite himself to the object of his choice, even in his early youth? May he not, at least, betroth himself to her, even though he must wait many years for marriage to crown his hopes ?
On each of these questions I would say a few words before leaving this branch of the subject.
The term “celibacy” is generally used to mean continence enforced on one who is of a fit age to marry. Continence in mere boys and very young men is not what we are now'speaking of. Of course every rational person must be an advocate for celibacy, or rather, the strictest continence, in the very young, and will admit that the youth should not only physically abstain, but so exercise his will as not to allow his thoughts to dwell on