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- Men, Women, and God - 1/23 -


MEN, WOMEN, AND GOD

A DISCUSSION OF SEX QUESTIONS FROM THE CHRISTIAN POINT OF VIEW

BY THE REV. A. HERBERT GRAY, D. D.

AUTHOR OF "THE CHRISTIAN ADVENTURE," "AS TOMMY SEES US," ETC.

TO MY WIFE

WHO FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS HAS BEEN MY CHIEF TEACHER AND HAS INTERPRETED LIFE AND GOD TO ME THROUGH THE CONTENTS OF THE DAILY ROUND

PREFACE

This book has been written at the request of the Student Christian Movement, and is addressed in the first place to men and women of the student age. I have undertaken the task with great gladness because my long and happy contact with men and women through the Student Movement has taught me how great is the need for a fuller understanding of the problems of sex, and how possible it is that men and women should find help through the timely suggestion of right and wholesome thoughts.

My brother, Dr. Charles Gray of London, has contributed a very valuable appendix dealing with certain facts in a way which is only possible to a medical man, and I am very greatly indebted to him for thus enriching this volume.

It will be apparent to all who read it that I also owe a great deal to many who have shared with me their knowledge and experience. In particular I owe much gratitude to a number of generous-hearted women who have enabled me to write the chapters which are more especially addressed to their sex.

I have deliberately omitted from these pages any reference to disease. I do that not because I am not impressed by the terrible penalties with which nature visits certain sins, but because I do not believe in the power of fear to deliver us. Though there were no such thing as venereal disease, immorality would still be a way of death, and morality would still be the way of life and joy. Till we perceive that we are not on the path of progress.

Books of this sort have generally been addressed specially either to men or to women. I write to both alike because I am quite sure that until men and women understand and help each other, there is going to be no happy solution to the problems of sex. When they do so learn to co-operate I believe we shall as a race find our way out into that larger and happier life which can only be ours when we have accepted the facts of sex and learnt to use them to the enrichment of human life and the glory of God.

A. HERBERT GRAY.

_Glasgow,_ 1922.

CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

I. KNOWING THE FACTS

II. COMRADESHIP

III. LOVE

IV. FALLING IN LOVE AND GETTING ENGAGED

V. OUR MORAL STANDARDS

VI. A MAN'S STRUGGLE

VII. PROSTITUTION--A CHAPTER FOR MEN

VIII. A GIRL'S EARLY DAYS

IX. INVOLUNTARY CELIBACY

X. THE ART OF BEING MARRIED

XI. UNHAPPY MARRIAGES

XII. THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL CONDITIONS

XIII. FORGETTING THE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND

APPENDIX--SOME OF THE PHYSIOLOGICAL FACTS. BY A. CHARLES E. GRAY, M.D.

INTRODUCTION

In the following pages I propose to write simply and plainly about the social, personal, and bodily relations of men and women, and about the ways in which their common life may attain to happiness, harmony, and efficiency.

I shall deal with matters often handled only with much diffidence, and thought of with uncomfortable reserve. And I address myself to men and women alike.

I do it all on the basis of one assumption, namely, that a God of love in designing our human nature cannot have put into it anything which is incapable of a pure and happy exercise; and in particular that in making the sex interest so central, permanent, and powerful in human beings He must have had some great and beautiful purpose. I start, in fact, with the faith that the sexual elements in our humanity, once rightly understood and finely handled, make for the enrichment of human life, for the increase of our health and efficiency, and the heightening of our joy. I believe that nothing is more necessary for the world to-day than that we should trace out the ways in which this tremendous life force that is implanted in us all may be used to forward the higher aims of our common life, and to help the race on its upward march. And yet even as I write the word "sexual" I cannot but remember that the mere word will for many good people produce a sensation of distaste. Partly because they have a sincere passion for purity, and partly because this whole subject has been defiled for them by the excesses and indecencies of mankind, they doubt whether it can be right or useful to think about it at all. They regard the facts of sex with a mixture of fear, perplexity, and shame, and take themselves to task if still some curiosity about them lingers in their minds. Therefore before I go any further I would like to ask such people to realize that they are denying my initial assumption. They have not yet come to believe that there is any divine and holy purpose enshrined in the sexual side of life, although God is responsible for its place in our humanity; and I would beg them forthwith to think this matter out.

Sex is no accident in our humanity. The function of the sexual elements in our physical frame is so central that unless they be truly managed health and strength are impossible. Their relation is no less vital to our mental and aesthetic life, and they appear to control almost absolutely our nervous stability. No man or woman attains to fullness and harmony of life if the sexual nature be either neglected or mismanaged. No society is strong and happy unless this part of life is truly adjusted. It may even be said that the evils that come through the mismanagement of sex relations have beaten every civilization up to the present. And no doubt it is natural enough to shudder over the abominations of prostitution and sex vice in general, and so to turn our minds away from the whole matter. But for all that our emotional energies would be better employed in trying to understand this titanic force, and in learning how it may be utilized for our upward progress. Mere prohibitions have so utterly and entirely failed us that we ought now to realize that there is no hope in them alone. What we need is a positive constructive ideal for this part of life which will indicate the real value of the sexual forces in us, and not leave young men and women partly perplexed, partly ashamed, and partly annoyed because they are as the Creator made them.

And so I repeat we must begin with the assumption that, though we have not yet spelt it out, God must have had some great purpose of love when He created men and women with a clamant sex instinct at the center of their personalities.

Hebrew instinct declared that "God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good." Christian instinct must repeat the verdict with vastly increased conviction, for our humanity is such that the Son of God could wear it. He was not ashamed to call us brethren, and to be tempted like as we are. To suggest that in passion and in its exercise at the bidding of love there need be anything that is not holy, is to arraign the Creator. Sex love abused and misunderstood has indeed strewn the world with tragedies and disease. But sex love is going to remain. Not until we have learnt to make it an instrument for the perfection of life and the heightening of vitality can we hope to reach the life which the love of God designed for us; and to that we shall not attain until we have dared to acquire knowledge and through knowledge to attain to wisdom.

The ideal which still lingers in many minds, though it is seldom openly confessed, is that boys and girls, young men and women, should be kept in complete ignorance of the truth about their sexual natures until they marry, and that then they should be left to learn all that they need to know from Mother Nature direct. That at least would seem to be a fair inference from the fact of the conspiracy of silence in which ninety per cent of parents have engaged towards the beings they love


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