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Here, as in all the other curves we have been able to consider,
we may see the usual two points of climax in spring and in
autumn; the major climax covers April, May, June, and July, the
minor autumnal climax is confined to November. In the light of
the evidence which has thus accumulated, we may conclude that the
existence of an annual ecbolic curve, with its spring and autumn
climaxes, as described in the first edition of this book, is now
If we are to believe, as these records tend to show, that the nocturnal
and involuntary voice of the sexual impulse usually speaks at least as
loudly in autumn as in spring, we are confronted by a certain divergence
of the sleeping sexual impulse from the waking sexual instinct, as
witnessed by the conception-curve, and also, it may be added, by the
general voice of tradition, and, indeed, of individual feeling, which
concur, on the whole, in placing the chief epoch of sexual activity in
spring and early summer, more especially as regards women. It is not
impossible to reconcile the contradiction, assuming it to be real, but I
will refrain here from suggesting the various explanations which arise.
We need a broader basis of facts.
There are many facts to show that early spring and, to a certain extent,
autumn are periods of visible excitement, mainly sexual in character. We
have already seen that among the Eskimo menstruation and sexual desire
occur chiefly in spring, but cases are known of healthy women in temperate
climes who only menstruate twice a year, and in such cases the menstrual
epochs appear to be usually in spring and autumn. Such, at all events, was
the case in a girl of 20, whose history has been recorded by Dr. Mary
Wenck, of Philadelphia. She menstruated first when 15 years old. Six
months later the flow again appeared for the second time, and lasted three
weeks, without cessation. Since then, for five years, she menstruated
during March and September only, each time for three weeks, the flow being
profuse, but not exhaustingly so, without pain or systemic disturbance.
Examination revealed perfectly normal uterus and ovarian organs.
Treatment, accompanied by sitz-baths during the time of month the flow
should appear, accomplished nothing. The semi-annual flow continued and
the girl seemed in excellent health.
It is a remarkable fact that, as noted by Dr. Hamilton Wey at Elmira,
sexual outbursts among prisoners appear to occur at about March and
October. "Beginning with the middle of February," writes Dr. Wey in a
private letter, "and continuing for about two months, is a season of
ascending sexual wave; also the latter half of September and the month of
October. We are now (March 30th) in the midst of a wave."
According to Chinese medicine, it is the spring which awakens
human passions. In early Greek tradition, spring and summer were
noted as the time of greatest wantonness. "In the season of
toilsome summer," says Hesiod (_Works and Days_, xi, 569-90),
"the goats are fattest, wine is best, women most wanton, and men
weakest." It was so, also, in the experience of the Romans. Pliny
(_Natural History_, Bk. XII, Ch. XLIII) states that when the
asparagus blooms and the cicada sings loudest, is the season when
women are most amorous, but men least inclined to pleasure.
Paulus AEgineta said that hysteria specially abounds during spring
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