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.
William Acton, M.R.C.S., Fellow of the Royal Med. and Chir., and statistical societies, etc. etc., in the preface and introduction to his work, addressed to the profession, on the Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs, says:-
"Should these pages accidentally fall into the hands of lay-men of sense and information, many of the facts and opinions to be found therein will, I apprehend, prove at least suggestive. The continent student will find reasons for continuing to live according to the dictates of virtue. The dissolute will be taught, on positive and irrefragable grounds, the value of self-control. The married man will find advice and guidance; and the bachelor, who is often placed in a trying social position, will glean consolation from observing that not only are his sexual sufferings appreciated and understood, but that rules are given him for their mitigation. The physiologist will see his principles reduced to practice. The comparative anatomist will judge how much light his investigations on the animal kingdom have thrown upon sexual relations in man. The surgeon will learn how to manage that difficult class, the hypochondriacal, and how to address himself to the audacious old libertine who, setting at naught religious principle and social customs, acts in open defiance of the laws of his country. Lastly, the advocate who practises in the ecclesiastical or criminal courts will here find the basis for many valuable arguments - nay more, he may learn how, in many cases of guilt, fair cause may be shown for a culprit's committal to a lunatic asylum instead of to a prison.
" Until lately, indeed, many standard writers on the generative system have practically ignored the functional aspect of their subject; dealing with the whole of the wonderful and complex machinery of which they treat as if the offices it fulfils, the thousand feelings it affects, the countless social, moral, and scientific interests with which it is so intimately connected, were of little or no moment. Others copy their predecessors, and perpetuate statements little in accordance with the advanced state of science at the present time.
"One reason of this reticence is obvious enough. The subject has been considered delicate - dangerous-unseemly - just as well let alone, even in scientific works.
"Of course there have been notable and honorable exceptions to this (as I cannot but think) rather cowardly, if not prudish, neglect of so large and important a branch of the boundless science of humanity. Foremost, perhaps, among these, I may be permitted to specify Dr. Carpenter. In the later editions of his ' Physiology,' that eminent author has boldly met the difficulties of the subject. Far, for instance, from ignoring the existence of sexual feelings, he has investigated them in the same calm and philosophic spirit with which he has approached all other inquiries. Popular prejudice he has quietly passed by; and has discussed a physical phenomenon, an intellectual faculty, or a sexual instinct, with equal simplicity and completeness. Indeed, every step in physiological science seems to reveal to us something more of that mysterious connection between the perishing frame and the imperishable part which at once rules, and is so largely influenced by its earthly companion. I conceive it to be of the greatest importance in no case to neglect or ignore their connection, and perhaps in none more than in the case of the generative functions. Those functions, and the feelings, instincts, and tendencies of which they are the exponents, are, perhaps, the most powerful social and moral agents in the world. They are fraught with happiness or misery to generations as well as individuals.
"Plain speaking is not of necessity impurity. It is not unfrequently its very opposite. I admit that matter so important as this should be treated gravely and by competent authority - not left to the scoffer and the quack. But I believe that in so doing, the truest wisdom and the best means of securing the results we desire will be found in a scientific candor."