On its title page this little book claims to be “a study of the sacred laws that govern the sex forces” which will teach “how to preserve and strengthen and retain the vital powers”. The largest part of the book was written by Arthur Gould, with a few final chapters appended by Dr Dubois.
Gould's central thesis is one I have not seen advanced seriously before (leaving aside mysticism and mythology), which is that hermaphroditism was the original state of humanity. Since Gould is a Christian he is concerned to answer those who think this would contradict the biblical story of Adam and Eve, to whom he poses the question:-
“does it not seem probable that originally, and previous to the appearance of woman, there was a race of hermaphrodites, self-propagating, who lived alone?”.
(This is a rather unusual form of the pre-Adamite doctrine). If you are not yet convinced, remember that :-
... men have frequently masqueraded as women and received the ardent attentions of other men.
Many of the practices of the church are in reality echoes from the period when man was bi-sexual and sex-congress therefore unknown; we need only mention as an illustration the rule of celibacy for the priests of the Church of Rome.
In elaborating his ideas, Gould surprisingly anticipates Erich von Däniken by more than 50 years:-
If a race of “gods” was brought to this planet to people it - a race double-sexed and self-propagating, which under the forces belonging to this planet, eventually evolved into two different sexes - we need no longer look for a “missing link”, for none is needed, and we also understand why each of the present sexes possesses the rudimentary organs of the other. The theory is reasonable; it is confirmed by the Bible.
Since the archetypal bisexual state of humanity is superior to the current division of the sexes, can this fateful evolution be undone? Gould thinks so, since:-
Sexual intercourse between bi-sexual beings brought about the degeneration of the body, with differentiation into separate sexes: while the maintenance of chastity, with the cultivation of an androgynous mind, at one suggests itself as the means of reversing the degenerative process, and thus prepare the proper conditions for the evolvement of bi-sexuality.
In other words, if we all abstain from sex the human race may turn back into its primordial hermaphroditic form. Gould is not completely stupid; he realises that total abstention will bring about extinction: sex for the purpose of procreation is permitted, but sex:-
should never be exercised solely for the pleasure it affords.
There is some compensation, though, since:-
... by the retention and reabsorption of the seminal fluids in the body, excepting only such as are used for the purposes of procreation, the magnetic qualities as well as the mental and spiritual powers of the individual are wonderfully increased. This is strikingly illustrated in the case of great inventors and scientists, who, while working out their problems, become so absorbed in their work that they never even think of the sex relation; they hardly think of food and their hours of sleep are so greatly reduced that under ordinary conditions they would be prostrated; yet they continue under this strain for long periods of time and their efforts are crowned with success. How was this made possible? By their continence during the period of strain - the retention of the seminal fluid, which was transmuted by the wonderful chemistry of nature into the vital energy needed to carry on their work.
To reinforce his message of the virtue of abstinence, Gould goes on to discuss the perils of venereal disease and abortion. At the time at which he was writing, these were much more serious than today, yet even so he feels the need to overegg his pudding, claiming for example that an abortion can damage the health of a woman so that all her subsequent children are born “idiots”
Happiness in marriage is not brought about by lots of good sex, which is of course to be discouraged, but by the character of the missus (feminists: please take a deep breath before reading on):-
If the wife has been trained properly, as soon as she is settled in her own home she will take stock, and begin to think of the future. She will try and determine what she can do to contribute her part to the success. Her material success depends upon the efficiency of her husband. She can help to develop his efficiency. Almost every man that has attained great material success has acknowledged that his wife deserves a great deal of the credit. The husbands of most good, sensible wives are successful.
Being a “good, sensible” wife or husband entails avoiding sex as much as possible. Babies are best born to couples between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-six, so presumably after that age one should give it up altogether. This is acknowledged to be difficult, but Dr Dubois has the prescription:-
... whenever a sex desire arises, you can, instead of allowing it to be expressed and bring about devastation in the cells of the body, direct it by the will to some organ you wish to strengthen.
So, whenever you feel a little libidinous, think long and hard about your poor underdeveloped spleen and send it your precious internal secretions. You'll feel better for it in the long term, much more magnetic, and you may even, if you are very lucky, turn into a hermaphrodite. Then you'll be able literally to go and screw yourself, though - of course - only for the purpose of propagation and the ultimate benefit of the race.