Married Love/Author's Preface

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MORE than ever to-day are happy homes needed. It is my hope that this book may serve the State by adding to their number. Its object is to increase the joys of marriage, and to show how much sorrow may be avoided.

The only secure basis for a present-day State is the welding of its units in marriage: but there is rottenness and danger at the foundations of the State if many of the marriages are unhappy. To-day, marriage is far less happy than appears on the surface. Too many who marry expecting joy are bitterly disappointed; and the demand for "freedom" grows: while those who cry aloud are generally unaware that it is more likely to have been their own ignorance than the "marriage-bond" which was the origin of their unhappiness.

It is never easy to make marriage a lovely thing; and it is an achievement beyond the powers of the selfish, or the mentally cowardly. Knowledge is needed, and as things are at present, knowledge is almost unobtainable by those who are most in want of it.

The problems of the sex-life are infinitely complex, and for their solution urgently demand both sympathy and scientific research.

I have some things to say about sex, which, so far as I am aware, have not yet been said, or if said will bear repeating and reëmphasizing, things which seem to me to be of profound importance to men and women who hope to make their marriage beautiful.

This little book is less a record of a research than an attempt to present in easily understandable form the clarified and crystallized results of long and patient investigations. Its simple statements are based on a very large number of first hand observations, on confidences from men and women of all classes and types, and on facts gleaned from wide reading.

My original contributions to the age-long problems of marriage will be found principally in Chapter IV; also in Chapters V, and VIII. The other chapters fill in what I hope is an undistorted and unexaggerated picture of the potential beauties and realities of marriage.

The whole is written simply, and for the ordinary untrained reader, though it embodies some observations which will be new even to those who have made scientific researches on the subjects of sex and human physiology.

I do not touch upon the many human variations and abnormalities which bulk so largely in most books on sex, nor do I deal with the many problems raised by incurably unhappy marriages.

In the following pages I speak to those – and in spite of all our neurotic literature and plays, they are in the great majority – who are normal, and who are married or about to be married, and hope, but do not know how, to make their marriages happy and successful.

To the reticent, as to the conventional, it may seem a presumption or a superfluity to speak of the details of the most complex of all human functions. They ask: Is not instinct enough? The answer is: No, instinct is not enough. In every other human activity it has been realized that training is essential to creatures of intellectual capacity like ourselves. As Saleeby once wisely pointed out: A cat knows how to manage her new-born kittens, how to bring them up and teach them; a human mother does not know how to manage her baby unless she is trained, either directly or by her own quick observation. A cat performs her simple duties by instinct; a human mother has to be trained to fulfill her very complex ones.

And the same is true, and even to a greater extent, in the subtle complexities of sex. In civilized countries, in modern times, the old traditions, the profound primitive knowledge of the needs of both sexes have been lost – and nothing but a muffled confusion of individual gossip disturbs a silence, shame-faced or foul. Here and there, in a family of fine tradition, a youth or maiden may learn some of the mysteries of marriage, but the great majority of people in the English speaking countries have no glimmering of knowledge of the supreme human art, the Art of Love. And even in books on advanced Physiology and Medicine the gaps, the omissions and even the misstatements, are amazing.

In my own marriage I paid such a terrible price for sex-ignorance that I feel that knowledge gained at such a price should be placed at the service of humanity.

In this book, average, healthy, mating creatures who come within the limits of what may be called "normal," will find information which should be known to every one of our race – but is not – and which may save them years of heartache and blind groping in the dark.