This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
He who would secure a green old age must commence his cares when young. Not many men can fritter away a decade or two of years in dissipation and excess, and ever hope to make up their losses by rigid surveillance in later years. " The sins of youth are expiated in age," is a proverb which daily examples illustrate. In proportion as puberty is precocious, will decadence be premature ; the excesses of middle life draw heavily on the fortune of later years. "The mill of the gods grinds slow, but it grinds exceedingly fine," and though nature may be a tardy creditor, she is found at last to be an inexorable one. In the strange lines of the eccentric Irish poet, Clarence Mangan, we may say to our young readers: -
" Guard your fire in youth, 0 Friends, For manhood's is but phosphorus, And small luck or grace attends, Gay boaters down the Bosphorus."
We enjoin, therefore, strict, absolute, unswerving chastity to the young and the celibate; a judicious marriage at virility, and an avoidance of excess or immoderation after marriage. As years increase, the solicitations of love should be more and more rarely indulged in; and they should at last be wholly avoided when they leave a sensation of pros-tration, or mental dulness or disturbance. If at any time during middle life or later, absence, or the death of a wife, should enforce a temporary suspension of the masculine powers, the greatest caution should be exercised on resuming their use on return or a second marriage. One of the best authorities, Mr. Acton of London, says on this subject, " Experience has taught me how vastly different is the situation of the class of moderate men, who, having married early, and regularly indulged their passions at longer and longer intervals, seldom come under the medical man's notice, from that of widowers of some years' standing, or men who have, through the demand of public or other duties, been separated from their wives during prolonged periods. When the latter class, after leading lives of chastity, suddenly resume sexual intercourse, they are apt to suffer greatly from generative disorders. The sudden call on the nervous system after years of rest, gives a shock to any constitution, and especially to those who are already somewhat feeble." These ill-consequences result, not from the mere fact of the resumption of marital privileges, but because there is often too great violence done to the constitution by an unrestrained indulgence. In all such instances, the pleasures of the marriage bed should be temperate and guarded.