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THE WEEKLY RHYTHM.
We now come to the third branch of our inquiry, and have to ask whether there be any weekly rhythm of the sexual activity. _A priori_ it might be answered that to expect any such weekly rhythm were absurd, seeing that our week--unlike the lunar month of the year--is a purely artificial and conventional period; while, on the other hand, it might be retorted that the existence of an _induced_ weekly periodicity is quite conceivable, such periodicity being induced by the habitual difference between our occupation, or mode of life, on one or two days of the week and that on the remaining days. In such an inquiry, however, _a priori_ argument is futile, as the question can be answered only by an induction from observations, and the curves on Chart 11 (_A_ and _B_) prove conclusively that there is a notable weekly rhythm. The existence of this weekly rhythm being granted, it would naturally be assumed that either the maximum or the minimum would regularly occur on Saturday or Sunday; but an examination of the curves discloses the unexpected result that the day of maximum discharge varies from year to year. Thus it is[383]
Sunday in 1888, 1892, 1896. Tuesday in 1894. Thursday in 1886, 1897. Friday in 1887. Saturday in 1893 and 1895.
Since, in Chart 11, the curves are drawn from Sunday to Sunday, it is obvious that the real symmetry of the curve is brought out in those years only which are characterized by a Sunday maximum; and, accordingly, in Chart 12 I have depicted the curves in a more suitable form.
Chart 12 _A_ is obtained by combining the data of 1888, 1892, and 1896: the years of a Sunday maximum. Curve 12 _B_ represents the results of 1894, the year of a Tuesday maximum--multiplied throughout by three in order to render the curve strictly comparable with the former. Curve 12 _C_ represents 1886 and 1897--the years of a Thursday maximum--similarly multiplied by 1.5. In Curve 12 _D_ we have the results of 1887--the year of a Friday maximum--again multiplied by three; and in Curve 12 _E_ those of 1893 and 1895--the years of a Saturday maximum--multiplied by 1.5. Finally, Curve 12 _F_ represents the combined results of all nine years plus (the latter half of) 1891; and this curve shows that, on the whole period, there is a very strongly marked Sunday maximum.
I hardly think that these curves call for much comment. In their general character they display a notable concord among themselves; and it is significant that the most regular of the five curves are _A_ and _E_, representing the combinations of three years and of two years, respectively, while the least regular is _B_, which is based upon the records of one year only. In every case we find that the maximum which opens the week is rapidly succeeded by a minimum, which is itself succeeded by a secondary maximum,--usually very secondary, although in 1894 it nearly equals the primary maximum,--followed again by a second minimum--usually nearly identical with the first minimum,--after which there is a rapid rise to the original maximum. The study of these curves fortunately amplifies the conclusion drawn from our study of the annual rhythm, and suggests that, in at least part of the year, the physiological condition of man requires sexual union at least twice a week.
As to Curve 12_F_, its remarkable symmetry speaks for itself. The existence of two secondary maxima, however, has not the same significance Page 1 from 4: [1] 2 3 4 Forward |