The cases which he includes under this name are those of male patients who regard trivial maladies, or even some of the natural events in their sexual life, with the unreasonable dread and gloom, or watchfulness, which are characteristic of that species of mental alienation known as hypochondria.

This class is largely made up of those who are entirely ignorant about the nature and laws of their sexual function; or else they are those of a very emotional temperament, prone to excitement, and of an irritable class; or else, and these are the most numerous, they are of the class whose minds, so far as their sexual life and its relations go, are really in some degree unsound, and unable to appreciate properly the part these peculiar functions ought to bear in the life of man.

In regard to those so affected through Ignorance of Sexual Affairs there is little doubt that it is much more common both in England and this country than one might imagine. Not but that few boys grow up without hearing vulgar allusions and coarse expressions of the sexual relation ; but authoritative teaching as to what is and what is not hurtful, of what is and what is not lawful, the boy almost never hears, and thus he is led to form low and incorrect opinions.

The desires and the passions arise and grow without the knowledge how to direct and control them. Hence errors, and fancies, and things half-understood are taken into the mind, and in later life become to some men sources of misery and fright, and to some the source of hypochondria and gloom.

This ignorance may sometimes be dispelled later in life by giving full information, and when it is thus supplanted with enlightenment, the wretchedness which it causes goes with it. But this is an exceptionally fortunate result; more often, the mind has been so long under the influence of groundless terrors, that even when they are shown to be such, the mental effect continues. Then, again, there may have been reasons for apprehension, but they have been removed. Do the terrors leave with their former exciting causes? No; the physical ailments, though definitely removed, leave this hideous legacy of distrust and low spirits.

Take a real instance. A middle-aged single man applies to a physician, because he is suffering from too frequent losses during sleep. They are evidently too frequent, not because they exceed a certain number, for, as we have stated on a former page (p. 85), there is no definite and invari-able rule in this respect, but because they leave behind them a sense of marked lassitude and exhaustion, a feeling of incapacity for mental and physical labor. -

The case is taken in hand, and at the end of two or three months the discharges are more rare, and are not followed by any perceptible sense of exhaustion. The general health is improved, the appetite keener, the bowels well regulated. In the opinion of the physician the man is well.

Not so, in his own opinion. He has become possessed with the fear that his sexual powers are permanently impaired by the diseased conditions they experienced for a time. He presses for further information on this point, and is decided in his statement that he is convinced he never will be able to enter properly the marital relation.

The physician attempts to show him that he is free from disease, that there is no reasonable doubt but that he will remain so, and that therefore his fears are without foundation, or, at any rate, absurdly premature. Do such rational arguments convince him, or diminish his anxieties? Not at all. He continues to have the same spells of low spirits, and belief that he is impotent.

This portrait, which, as we have said, is one painted from nature, is that of a man who must be supposed to have a diseased mind ; to be, on this point, actually insane. And it is by no means a rare case.

Another frequent cause of this form of depression is that which follows a belief that a man is suffering from spermatorrhoea when nothing of the kind is present. This is by no means confined to youth. On the contrary, it is very common about middle life, or a little after it, when the powers begin to fail.

Many men at this period are excessively anxious about themselves, and are inclined to believe that the natural abatement of their force is owing to disease of the part rather than to that normal diminution of the powers which is characteristic of their period of life.

To discover this imaginary disease they will often inspect with great anxiety their urine. It frequently presents to the eye some shreds of mucus, or signs of the secretion from the prostatic glands, opening into the urethra in front of the bladder. These, they convince themselves, proceed from the seminal vessels.