The conventions of modesty tend to restrict the

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Unformatted text preview: or the hat of the man. Pathologically any part of the dress--the shoe or the undergarments--may become so closely associated with sexual feeling as to evoke it indiscriminately or even to displace it. Normal fetich formation may become a bit foolish and sentimental but never becomes a predominant factor in sex relationship. The history of modesty is the history of the sex taboo. As pointed out, the sex feelings are the most restricted of any of the instincts. I despair of giving an adequate summary of this, but it may be best stated by declaring that all the restrictions we hold as imperative have, at one time or another in some place, been regarded as sacred and desirable. Brother and sister marriages were favored by Egyptian royalty, prostitution was a rite in Phoenician worship, phallic worship frankly held as a symbol that which to-day we hold profane (in a silly way), plural marriage was and is countenanced in a large part of the world to-day, marriage for love is held as foolish in most countries, even now. The practice of child restriction now prevalent in Europe and America would be looked at with horror in those countries where children of ten or eleven are allowed to marry. Exogamy, endogamy, monogamy, polygamy,--all these are customs and taboos, and though in our day and country monogamy has the social and religious sanction, there is nothing to indicate that this is a permanent resting place for marriage. Certainly the statistics of divorce indicate a change in the permanent status of marriage. What this is meant to emphasize is the social nature of sexual modesty. Modesty of other kind rests either on a moderate self-valuation or a desire to avoid offense by not emphasizing one's own value, or it is both. However sexual modesty originated, practically it consists in the concealing of certain parts of the body, avoiding certain topics of conversation, especially in the presence of the other sex, and behaving in such fashion as to restrict sexual demonstration. Ther...
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