CIRCULAR NO. 4 — For Boys Approaching Puberty and Th[unreadable] (The period beginning at about 13 or 14 years of age.)
A Plain Talk with Boys about their Physical Development
Published for Distribution by THE SPOKANE SOCIETY OF SOCIAL AND MORAL HYGIENE, SPOKANE, WASH. An Organization of Medical Men and the Laity President, Dr. N Fred Essig, Traders' Building First Vice President, Judge William A Huneke. Second Vice President, Mr. J. C. Ralston. Third Vice President, Superintendent Bruce M. Watson. Secretary and Treasurer, Dr. J. G. Harbison, Old National Bank Building. Executive Committee — For Term Expiring 1913 — Mr. J. T. Burcham, Principal H. M. Hart, Mr. R. C. Sweatt, Professor H. C. Blair, Mr. J. C. Ralston. For Term Expiring 1912 — Dr. X. L. Anthony, Dr. Geo. K. McDowell, Judge Wm. A. Huneke, Superintendent Bruce M. Watson, Dr. W. W. Potter, Mr. E. E. Sargeant. For Term Expiring 1911 — Dr. N. Fred Essig, Dr. Carroll Smith, Mr. Adolph Munter, Dr. J. G. Harbison, Dr. A. II. Benefiel, Rev. W. J. Hindley.
The experience of physicians and others shows that a large amount of abuse and disease is caused because boys misunderstand the purpose of their sexual organs. To help boys grow up into clean, strong, healthy manhood, the following information is presented to them:
1. BIRTH. — If you take a horse-chestnut when it falls from the tree, peel off the shining shell, and carefully slice the "meat part" away with a sharp knife, you will find a young chestnut tree neatly coiled up and ready to grow if you will only put it into warm moist earth. Or put a bean into some water and set it in a warm place, and in a few days it will burst open and you will see a growing plant. "Tall [unreadable] acorns grow," and all plants produce, when [unreadable] old enough, the germs of seeds of new plants.
There are male plants and female plants, and to produce the germs of a new plant, it is necessary that the pollen, a fine dust from the male flower, should be carried to the female flower. You can blow this pollen from a lily and from many other flowers. It is sometimes carried to the female flowers by the wind, but oftener by bees and other insects which go from flower to flower. There are always two kinds of insects and two kinds of fish and two kinds of animals — male and female. If we were to destroy all the males of any sort of animals or were to destroy all the females, no more would be born and the race would die out. So that there must always be two, that there may be a third, and this law holds in all kinds of life.
In every hive of bees, there is one female which is called the queen. She is the mother of all the young bees which go off in swarms to fill other hives and keep up the race of bees. In every hive there are also a number of males which are called drones, and these are the males of the queen's court from which she may select her husband. But the great mass of bees are working bees, neither males or females, but neuters, which can have no offspring. They do all the work. At a certain time, the queen mother becomes filled with the germs of young bees, and at this time, and in order that these germs may grow into real life, she requires the male element, just as the female parts of the flowers need the pollen to make perfect living plants. This element is provided by the drone or male bee and is deposited within the body of the mother bee. By this the germs that she carries are given life, and she lays many thousands of living eggs, which are carried to the cells prepared for them by the neuter or working bees, where they are shut up with some food made of the pollen of flowers, for the little bee grubs to eat as soon as they are hatched out of their shells.
It is not so easy to study fishes that live always in the deep sea; but the salmon every year, in the season when they lay their eggs, come out of the sea in great swarms, and swim up rivers, jumping over dams and falls, until they get into shallow water, where their eggs can be hatched in the sunshine. The female salmon are full of eggs — many thousands of them — which they deposit on banks of gravel, while the male salmon at the same time mingle their fish pollen with the eggs. These male and female elements coming in contact, the eggs are impregnated, or given life, and in a few days, young salmon burst from the eggs, and when they have grown large enough, they swim down the rivers to the sea.
Let us consider now the higher class of animals like cats and horses and cows and ourselves. This is the class called mammalia — animals which bring forth their young alive, and then feed them for a time with their own milk. With all of these the race is kept up in the same way as in plants and insects and fishes. The egg is not only formed, but is kept in the body of the mother; and the young animal, so to speak, is hatched there, and fed there with the mother's blood until it is able to live alone, when it is born into the world.
All the mammalia — that is to say, we and all animals formed and brought into the world and nourished in infancy as we are — are furnished by nature with either male or female organs. These organs are given us for the important work of continuing our species and keeping up the life of our race. The germ is formed in the body of the female, and is made to live by the mingling of the male element. It develops in a place prepared for it within the body of the mother, it is nourished with the purest blood from her loving heart, and grows there for nine months, when it is ready for its separate existence, and so is born — a new babe — into the world.
How wonderful is all this. If a boy will always remember that his mother carried him in her own body and then gave birth to him in order that he might live his own life, then if he has the right feeling and love for his mother, he will not talk jokingly or carelessly about this wonderful thing. For God never did a more wonderful thing than make men and women. And when the male and female germs unite and a new babe comes into the home then the most wonderful thing in the world occurs. God said long ago to Adam and Eve that they were to multiply and replenish the earth, and he has said the same thing to every father and mother since. So there is no greater, no more wonderful thing that a man or woman can do than become a father or a mother. And any thinking about this matter should be free from all impurity and wrong.
We, men and women and boys, belong to the highest order of animals so far as concerns our bodies, but we are far superior to all animals in that we have moral and intellectual powers which the lower animals do not possess. it is by the abuse of any of his powers, that a boy becomes wretched and unhappy. He can grow as the animals cannot, impure and unhappy, but he can also, as the animals cannot, become purer and happier as he grows bigger and stronger.
2. At fourteen or fifteen, and sometimes a little earlier or later, boys undergo physical changes that exert a profound influence on their lives. The shoulders are likely to broaden and the lung capacity to increase; the vocal cords lengthen and the voice changes to a bass or tenor; the hair begins to grow coarser and longer on the upper lip, the legs, under the arms and over and around the sexual organs; and the sexual organs themselves (the penis, the scrotum, and the two testicles suspended in the scrotum) naturally increase in size at this time.
3. The first purpose of the sexual or reproductive organs is to rebuild the boy into a man. As the physical changes referred to take place, there is secreted by the testicles a substance which is absorbed by the blood and lymph and is carried to the brain and spinal cord, and there produces a profound effect toward the proper development of the boy into strong manhood.
A boy who abuses these organs risks the loss of the manly perfection that he might otherwise attain. One of the physical effects of masturbation or self- abuse is flabbiness of muscle, other serious effects are the weakening of the will-power, the lowering of the general vitality, the loss of self-respect, and in general unhappiness. If a boy practicing this habit stops in time, immediately and absolutely, and lives an active, healthy life, Nature comes to his rescue and gradually, step by step, brings back the light of manhood into his eye and the tone of virility into his muscles.
4. Seminal Emissions occur during sleep in perfectly healthy young men; they do not indicate an unhealthy condition of the sexual organs unless they take place oftener than once in ten to fourteen days. The scarecrow newspaper advertisements of "quacks" are designed to frighten ignorant boys and young men into paying heavily for unnecessary treatment. In addition to the secretion of the testicles, as young man hood starts, there is constantly accreted within the body a liquid which it becomes necessary to discharge from time to time. Too frequent emissions generally can be avoided by following the eight suggestions given later.
5. As stated, the first purpose of the sexual organs is to rebuild the boy into a man. Their second and final purpose is to reproduce the race. The boy or the man who debases these, their sacred purposes, in prostitution, dishonors himself and womankind, and risks for himself a life of sin and disease.
Every prostitute, public or private, acquires venereal disease sooner or later, hence all of them are diseased some of the time, and some practically all the time. The man who patronizes them risks his health at every exposure. The persistence of gonorrhoea or clap in deeper parts long after it is outwardly cured, its contagiousness, and its serious effect upon the health of a man's future wife and children make it one of the greatest pests of our age. Syphilis is worse. Together these two diseases are now known as "the great black plague." Medical inspection, antiseptic washes and other measures for the prevention of diseases are inefficient. Safety is to be had only by abstinence.
6. Sexual Temptations and Excitement may be almost entirely avoided by observing the following suggestions:
- Keep the mind pure and entirely free from sexual matters.
- Eat plain, wholesome food, avoiding highly seasoned articles of diet.
- Avoid tobacco in all its forms.
- Keep the bowels regular. Have at least one free passage daily.
- Take plenty of good exercise either in the form of work or play, and spend as much time as possible out of doors.
- Seek the company of pure-minded companions.
- Take all the sleep needed, but get up immediately upon awakening. Do not sleep on a feather bed or anything soft that will produce a weakening perspiration. Have the outer air circulate through the sleeping room.
- Bathe once or twice a week with warm water to keep clean, and follow such a bath with a quick cold bath and a vigorous rub-down. A daily shower or plunge quickly taken and followed by a rub-down to insure the proper reaction may be used with profit, provided the boy is robust, and such bathing does not tax his vitality. The foreskin of the sexual organ should be in such condition that the boy can draw it back when bathing and wash it clean. This will prevent the accumulation of an irritating, cheesy substance called smegma. If the condition of the organ prevents its being thus kept clean, the boy upon the advice of a reputable physician, may be circumcised.
7. Self-control is a mark of manliness and not of effeminacy. Abstinence from impurity develops strength and courage.
A boy should take no liberties with any girl that he would not have another boy take with his own sister, and a boy that would even suggest to a girl any step that he knew might later lead to her downfall, while his reputation remained unhurt, is a base coward.
The rule, and the only rule for a true and happy life for the young, is perfect purity — perfect chastity in act and in thought. Nothing in this world is grander or finer than a pure-minded, pure-hearted, healthy, open boy.
A set of circulars published by this Society may be had for 10 cents in stamps upon application to the Secretary.
Adapted from circulars of the Chicago Society of Social Hygiene, from "Reproduction and Sexual Hygiene," by Dr. Winfield S. Hall of the Northwestern University Medical School, and from "A Straight Talk with Boys," by President C. J. Boulden, King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada.