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.
Those who are already in the enjoyment of good health will need but few instructions to retain their strength at this period of life. They must, however, bear in mind the approach of advancing years, and the facility to disease which ever accompanies declining age. Therefore they must avoid all excesses, restrict the indulgence of desire within moderate bounds, and if unmarried, live lives not only continent but chaste, avoiding not merely vices which are condemned both by statute and religion, but also all impure thoughts and conversations. For the latter, as we shall have occasion to show more fully hereafter, are enervating to the body as well as demoralizing to the mind. The functions of sex are so intimately allied to the mental condition that the one sympathizes invariably with the other, and what degrades one, with little short of absolute certainty impairs the other.
Then the man at middle life should be aware that to ensure either a respected or a happy old age, he must at least make up his mind to renounce forever the exercise of his sexual powers, and with this in view, he should, as years progress, steadily wean himself more and more from the control of desire, and fix his thoughts on those philanthropic and unselfish projects which add beauty to age, and are the crown to gray hairs. What more nauseous and repulsive object than a libidinous and worn-out old man, heating his diseased imagination with dreams and images which his chilled and impotent body can no longer carry into effect ?
But as in the interest of the general health, and also of mental vigor, it is important virile powers be retained to the latest period of which they are capable, as the whole body shares in their strength and sympathizes in their debility, it is the duty of all to observe such precepts as will defer the loss of virility to the most distant days.
In general, in this country, we may assign the period of virility to commence at twenty-five years of age and to draw to a close at forty-five, thus extending over a score of years.
During this period the physical and intellectual activity of most men is at its height. They are capable of their best, and whether in business or in scholarship, usually accomplish the most for which they are spoken of and remembered. The children born to them during this time are more vigorous, and are endowed with more active powers, than those begotten either before or after these limits. From fifteen to twenty-five the organs yield immature and imperfect secretion, later than forty-five the passions grow rarer and briefer, and the individual suffers more acutely from every attempt to increase the species.
There are, however, some striking examples on record showing how a good constitution supported by proper care, can escape the action of this law for many years.
The Latin historian Sallust, relates of Masinissa, king of Numidia, that he married at the age of fourscore and five years, and had a vigorous infant born to him after that time.
Still more remarkable is the instance of a Frenchman named De Longueville, who lived to the age of 110 years. He married his last wife when in his ninety-ninth year, and she bore him a son when he was in his hundred and first year.
The famous Thomas Parr, of Shropshire, England, who lived to the almost unexampled age of one hundred and fifty-two years, married his second wife when above one hundredl and twenty years of age. She lived with him twelve years, and although she bore no children, she asserted that during that time he never betrayed any signs of infirmity or age.
But certainly the most astonishing example of prolonged virility was Baravicino de Capellis, a nobleman of Tyrol who died, aged 104, in 1770. He married in his eighty-fourth your a young and healthy woman, by whom he had eight children! So that it is evident that mere age does not destroy virility, but that it endures with the other bodily powers.
Thus it becomes a matter of no little interest, since we see such vigor is possible, to investigate the means by which it may be obtained. With this in view, we shall proceed to some inquiries concerning