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Sexual

impulse, usually, persons, manifests, discharge and normal

SEXUAL DESIRE.—Under normal conditions the sexual impulse appears at the time of puberty. Climate, education, and physical constitution exert a great influence upon its earlier or later appearance. As a natural impulse it is bound to occur in every healthy individual. Among aboriginal peoples the desire for sexual intercourse is generally gratified as soon as it manifests itself. In civilised countries, however, this is usually prevented by various circumstances. This may be said to be fortunate, for the gratification of the violent impulse which manifests itself at this age might readily lead to harmful excesses.

The sexual impulse manifests itself in both sexes by peculiar psychic symptoms. The period of adolescence—with its wild pranks, its faults, and its peculiarities—precedes the onset of the sexual desire. There are two events especially which give rise to a powerful psychic emotion ; namely, the first emission of semen in the boy, and the first occurrence of the monthly period in the girl. Great alarm usually prevails in either instance. Unfortunately it is very difficult to give the proper advice in these matters. Most children, it is true, are fully informed by older playmates, by servants, etc. But even when the occurrence of the first natural discharge is fully expected, the event never fails to be accompanied with powerful emotions. Many young persons become actually sick and morbidly depressed in con sequence of wrong instruction. The reading of books written on these sub jects by interlopers, exaggerating everything to the utmost, is especially harmful.

In the young man the first discharge of semen occurs with voluptuous sensations, usually at night, subsequent upon a sexually exciting dream. It may frequently be brought about also by female caresses. In most cases it occurs toward morning when the bladder is filled with urine, thus causing irritation. In healthy, young, vigorous men, such discharges of semen recur spontaneously every one or two weeks, sometimes oftener. This is a normal

condition. Puberty in the female is characterised principally by the advent of the monthly discharge of blood. See MENSTRUATION.

The appearance of the sexual impulse, and the impossibility of at once gratifying the same normally (which is not at all necessary), is very apt to cause many young persons to practise MASTURBATION (which see). It is, therefore, the duty of parents and teachers to watch the children most care fully, especially during this period of life, and to guide them correctly. A prudent enlightenment as to sexual matters is quite opportune at this time.

Psychic emotions and sexually exciting dreams are bound to occur in both sexes. The best protection against them will be foad in a certain hardening of the body (see HARDENING), in plentiful exercise in the open air, and in good, non-irritating food. One cannot caution too much against unwise " mortifying of the flesh " in order " to combat sin," regardless of whether it consists in prayers or in excessive fasting. Any weakening of the body will merely increase the sexual irritability and aggravate the evil.

Perverse sexual impulses are usually due to an inherited morbid predis position. Sometimes, however, they may develop in consequence of over excitement and of the weakness caused thereby, with wanting satisfaction during normal sexual intercourse. This perversity manifests itself in various manners. In some cases the individuals develop peculiar inclinations toward the opposite sex ; in other cases they manifest an abnormal dislike of the opposite sex, and a simultaneous affection for persons of their own. Persons afflicted with such perversities should consult a nerve specialist, since it is frequently possible, by proper treatment, to effect a cure.