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.
The evils we have just mentioned find their origin in ungratified sexual excitement. This is always sure to be attended, if frequently repeated and long-continued, by injurious consequences. Whether it be from an engagement, from disappointed affection, from too great familiarity with the other sex, or from entertaining lascivious thoughts, any such excitement leads to weakening of power, and sometimes to actual disease. Degeneration or chronic inflammation of the gland, spermatorrhoea, emissions, and impotence, are all possible from neglect of hygienic rules in this regard.
Here, therefore, is a reason - one of many - why we should discountenance the disposition among young men to become the heroes of half a dozen engagements and love passages. In so doing they violate social laws, trifle with the best affections of our nature, give others endless anguish, and also run the chance of hurting themselves for life.
The society of refined and pure women is one of the strongest safeguards which a young man can have, and he does well when he seeks it; but it should always be motives of simple friendship and kindly interest which impel him to cultivate it. When he considers that the time has come that his means and circumstances allow of marriage, he should then look intelligently for her with whom he would care to pass the remainder of his life in perfect loyalty. He should be impelled by no wanton impulse, nor dissipate his time in worshipping at every passing shrine, but in sincerity and singleness of heart seek an early alliance with her to whom he is ready to swear to be ever true.
For every man does well to reflect, before he assumes the vow, on The Paramount Duty of Fidelity, which every husband owes his wife, quite as much as every wife owes her husband. The lax morality of society excuses in the one what it unequivocally condemns in the other, but the Christian and the physiologist agree in allowing no excuse for either.
Nothing is more certain to undermine domestic felicity, and sap the foundation of marital happiness, than marital infidelity. The risks of disease which a married man runs in impure intercourse are far more serious, because they involve not only himself, but his wife and his children. He should know that there is nothing which a woman will not forgive sooner than such a breach of confidence. He is exposed to the plots, and is pretty certain sooner or later to fall into the snares, of those atrocious parties who subsist on black-mail. And should he escape these complications, he still must lose self-respect, and carry about with him the burden of a guilty conscience and a broken vow. If we have urged on the celibate the preservation of chastity, we still more emphatically call upon the married man for the observation of fidelity.
[Authors referred to in this section. - Edward Reich, Ge-srhtrhte, Natur-, und Gesundtheitslehre des ehelichen Lebens ; Na-pheys, The Physical Life of Womar. , Acton, On the Reproductive Organs ; Reich, Ueber die Entartung des menschlichen Geschlechts; A. Debay, Hygiene du Manage.]