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Table of contents
PREFACE
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-1.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-1.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.4
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.5
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.4
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.5
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-6
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.3
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.4
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.3
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.4
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-3.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-3.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.3
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-1
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-2
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-3
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-4
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-1.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-1.2
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-2.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-2.2
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-3-4
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-5.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-5.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

It is difficult to speak very decisively as to the function of the labia 

minora. They doubtless exert some amount of protective influence over the 

entrance to the vagina, and in this way correspond to the lips of the 

mouth after which they are called. They fulfill, however, one very 

definite though not obviously important function which is indicated by the 

mythologic name they have received. There is, indeed, some obscurity in 

the origin of this term, nymphae, which has not, I believe, been 

satisfactorily cleared up. It has been stated that the Greek name nymphe 

has been transferred from the clitoris to the labia minora. Any such 

transfer could only have taken place when the meaning of the word had been 

forgotten, and nymphe had become the totally different word _nymphae_, the 

goddesses who presided over streams. The old anatomists were much 

exercised in their minds as to the meaning of the name, but on the whole 

were inclined to believe that it referred to the action of the labia 

minora in directing the urinary stream. The term nymphae was first applied 

in the modern sense, according to Bergh, in 1599, by Pinaeus, mainly from 

the influence of these structures on the urinary stream, and he dilated in 

his _De Virginitate_ on the suitability of the term to designate so poetic 

a spot.[93] In more modern times Luschka and Sir Charles Bell considered 

that it is one of the uses of the nymphae to direct the stream of urine, 

and Lamb from his own observation thinks the same conclusion probable. In 

reality there cannot be the slightest doubt about the function of the 

nymphae, as, in Hyrtl's phrase, "the naiads of the urinary source," and it 

can be demonstrated by the simplest experiment.[94] 

 

The nymphae form the intermediate portal of the vagina, as the canal which 

conducts to the womb was in anatomy first termed (according to Hyrtl) by 

De Graaf.[95] It is a secreting, erectile, more or less sensitive canal 

lined by what is usually considered mucous membrane, though some have 

regarded it as integument of the same character as that of the external 

genitals; it certainly resembles such integument more than, for instance, 

the mucous membrane of the rectum. In the woman who has never had sexual 

intercourse and has been subjected to no manipulations or accidents 

affecting this region, the vagina is closed by a last and final gate of 

delicate membrane--scarcely admitting more than a slender finger--called 

the hymen. 

 

The poets called the hymen "fios virginitatis," the flower of 

virginity, whence the medico-legal term _defloratio_. 

Notwithstanding the great significance which has long been 

attached to the phenomena connected with it, the hymen was not 

accurately known until Vesalius, Fallopius, and Spigelius 

described and named it. It was, however, recognized by the Arab 

authors, Avicenna and Averroes. The early literature concerning 

it is summarized by Schurig, _Muliebria_, 1729, Section II, cap. 

V. The same author's _Parthenologia_ is devoted to the various 

ancient problems connected with the question of virginity. 

 

To say that this delicate piece of membrane is from the non-physical point 

of view a more important structure than any other part of the body is to 

convey but a feeble idea of the immense importance of the hymen in the 


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