This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
Complete health of the organs is necessary to the full vigor of the general economy, and it should be the aim and desire of all to maintain the vigor of the genitalia. The male delights in the shapely figure of the person of the female, the full development of her bust, and the vivacity of her spirits, all indicative of a healthy genitalia; and the female takes pride in the male who presents the evidences of a vigorous manhood. This is a natural selection, and no one is indifferent to it.
The greatest requirement is cleanliness. Ablutions of these parts should be more frequent than of the body in general. We have seen that in the male the secretion of smegma constantly accumulates at the corona. Besides, the scrotum is so situated that perspiration is at all times attendant. Its surface is also studded with numerous sebaceous follicles, whose secretions become quickly very offensive. If these secretions are not removed, they will impede the full development of the organ as well as abridge coitive power. They should therefore be daily cleansed. Cold water is preferable, as it is more stimulating, and possesses greater tonic properties than tepid or warm water.
In the female the excessive secretions render cleanliness very important. The vaginal secretions should not be allowed to accumulate at the vulva, as they soon become offensive, and if re-absorbed impair the general health. On the pubic prominence are many sebaceous follicles, whose secretions should be frequently removed by ablutions. Besides, the urine which passes through the external parts adds constantly to the uncleanly state. It is therefore very important that the parts should be frequently washed, omitting, however, cold-water ablutions during the menstrual period.
Nothing is capable of doing greater harm than excesses of any kind, and those organs should not be indulged by any unnatural means. It is promotive of disease, destructive of manhood and healthy womanhood, and, if early engaged in, arrests the full development of the organs of either sex, and so reduces the strength of these organs that it renders them incapacitated for the purposes which were ordained to them by nature, besides wrecking the nervous system very materially. It is well known that those who have thus been imprudent, having so long been accustomed to self-gratification, do not find subsequent and legitimate excitement so intense as those who have been continent. They have so long been accustomed to the gratification induced by their own electricity that the magnetism of another body becomes more or less inert in the production of a complete orgasm. The habit is morally and physically pernicious, and its prevalence should be abated by influence of a superior education in these matters.
Undue excitement of the important passion is detrimental in the extreme. Obscene literature and pictures do more harm than merely depraving the moral tastes -- they so stimulate the amative passions that the seminal vesicles, by the consequent nervous excitement, will allow the semen to ooze away, inducing hidden seminal waste or losses of semen with the urine, creating an intonicity of those organs and deprive them of natural vigor. The same effect is produced by association of the sexes, where the mutual conduct is provocative of amative excitement, though modified by forbidden indulgence. Those who have the welfare of the organs in view, are therefore counselled not to permit abnormal excitement of the passions to occur. Females should, likewise, avoid reading obscene literature, from the fact that the constant expenditure of nervous force ensuing upon the engorged condition of her organs is very hurtful. It is a well-known physiological fact, that undue excitement of any passion, such as anger, mirth, etc., is always followed by a certain weakness of the general organism, and the same holds true of the amative passion also.
The occasional desire for congress is purely a natural one, and the most chaste or pure-minded person, sufficiently fortunate to possess healthy organs, cannot rise superior to the desire. It is simply a manifestation of a function of the economy in perfect obedience to a physiological law. It is readily explained. We have seen that semen is the secretory product of a gland (the testes), afterward deposited in a vesicle; the urine is also secreted by a gland, and deposited likewise in a vesicle (the bladder). When the bladder becomes filled the afferent nerves distributed to it convey intelligence of the fact to the brain, and a desire for urination arises, which continues as long as the bladder remains charged with urine. This is a natural phenomenon of organic function. In like manner the full seminal vesicles impart the sensation to the nerves distributed to them, which is also conveyed to the brain. What is the result? Naturally, a desire for cohabitation in order to evacuate the charged vesicles. This fact is an unalterable condition of the economy, and it follows that a desire for the evacuation of the vesicles is as much a natural manifestation of functional action as that of relief of the bladder. In the female the hyperaesthetic condition of the nerves distributed to the clitoris awakens the same desire, which remains as long as the nervous forces, are not equalized by the expenditure of a part. It is, therefore, purely a nervous phenomenon in the female. The amative passion is not a cultivated one; it is natural to the human being, and ineradicable by the greatest exercise of continent thought and behavior, and its gratification is unquestionably hygienic. It is, of course, as subject to rational indulgence as in diet or drink.
We have seen that desires are natural in a healthy condition of either sex, and that a rational indulgence is hygienic, but I earnestly caution every reader to guard against debauching the passion by unlicensed congress. The indulgence can only be countenanced in marriage. It is, therefore, the plain duty of every male and female to marry, and as early in life as contingencies will permit. That marriage is hygienic is proven by the fact that married people live longer than the unmarried, a fact that demonstrates the marital privilege as a healthy relation between the sexes. Nature did not design total continence, and such a condition is aversive to the physical and mental well-being of the sexes. Nature, however, provides in this as she does in everything else. The amative passions do not present themselves or become inconveniently strong in either sex until a full marriageable age is attained.