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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

eyes of the men of many past ages and even of our own times and among our 

own people.[96] For the uses of the feminine body, or for its beauty, 

there is no part which is more absolutely insignificant. But in human 

estimation it has acquired a spiritual value which has made it far more 

than a part of the body. It has taken the place of the soul, that whose 

presence gives all her worth and dignity, even her name, to the unmarried 

woman, her purity, her sexual desirability, her market value. Without 

it--though in all physical and mental respects she might remain the same 

person--she has sometimes been a mark for contempt, a worthless 

outcast.[97] 

 

So fragile a membrane scarcely possesses the reliability which 

should be possessed by a structure whose presence or absence has 

often meant so much. Its absence by no means necessarily 

signifies that a woman has had intercourse with a man. Its 

presence by no means signifies that she has never had such 

intercourse. 

 

There are many ways in which the hymen may be destroyed apart 

from coitus. Among the Chinese (and also, it would appear, in 

India and some other parts of the East) the female parts are from 

infancy kept so scrupulously clean by daily washing, the finger 

being introduced into the vagina, that the hymen rapidly 

disappears, and its existence is unknown even to Chinese doctors. 

Among some Brazilian Indians a similar practice exists among 

mothers as regards their young children, less, however, for the 

sake of cleanliness than in order to facilitate sexual 

intercourse in future years. (Ploss and Bartels, _Das Weib_, vol. 

i, Chapter VI.) The manipulations of vaginal masturbation will, 

of course, similarly destroy the hymen. It is also quite possible 

for the hymen to be ruptured by falls and other accidents. (See, 

e.g., a lengthy study by Nina-Rodrigues, "Des Ruptures de l'Hymen 

dans les Chutes," _Annales d'Hygiene Publique_, September, 1903.) 

 

On the other hand, integrity of the hymen is no proof of 

virginity, apart from the obvious fact that there may be 

intercourse without penetration. (The case has even been recorded 

of a prostitute with syphilitic condylomata, a somewhat masculine 

type of pubic arch, and vulva rather posteriorly placed, whose 

hymen had never been penetrated.) The hymen may be of a yielding 

or folding type, so that complete penetration may take place and 

yet the hymen be afterwards found unruptured. It occasionally 

happens that the hymen is found intact at the end of pregnancy. 

In some, though not all, of these cases there has been conception 

without intromission of the penis. This has occurred even when 

the entrance was very minute. The possibility of such conception 

has long been recognized, and Schurig (_Syllepsilogia_, 1731, 

Section I, cap. VIII, p. 2) quotes ancient authors who have 

recorded cases. For some typical modern cases see Guerard 

(_Centralblatt fuer Gynaekologie_, No. 15, 1895), in one of whose 

cases the hymen of the pregnant woman scarcely admitted a hair; 

also Braun (ib., No. 23, 1895). 


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