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Towards a Quaker View of Sex (1963) - Transcribed by Mitchell Santine Gould, curator, LeavesOfGrass.Org


This short glossary is provided for the convenience of readers to whom some of the terms used in the text or appendices may be unfamiliar. No attempt has been made to cover fully the technical or colloquial language relating to sexual matters.

Adolescence. Period between childhood and manhood or womanhood, commencing with puberty—the onset of sexual capacity.

Adultery. Sexual intercourse between a married person and a person of the opposite sex, not the spouse.

Agape. “Spiritual” love as contrasted with “physical” love (see also Eros).

Autoeroticism. See p. 16.

Bestiality. See Buggery.

Buggery. Includes sodomy and bestiality—anal intercourse between humans and between humans and animals respectively.

Castration. The loss of sexual organs by surgery, disease or accident. In the female this implies the ovaries—in the male the penis and/or testes. In the adult, there are no significant effects other than lessening of sexual desire. In the pre­pubertal (q.v.) castration arrests sexual development and interferes with secon­dary sexual characteristics—voice, hair, breasts, etc.

Chromosomes. Minute filaments within the nucleus of each cell, each carrying multitudes of genes, i.e. complex chemical bodies which determine hereditary characteristics.

Circumcision. Excision of surplus skin over tip (glans) of penis. An ancient ritual of hebraic origin held by psychoanalysts to represent a symbolic act of cas­tration and by anthropologists to be a substitute for human sacrifice. The only medical justification is if the orifice will not permit adequate washing of the glans, causing soreness.

Clitoris. A small knot of erectile tissue at the foreward end of the vagina (q.v.). The clitoris represents a rudiment (which, in the male, grows into the penis) and is highly sensitive, playing a major part in sexual arousal. Failure of a husband to recognise this may be the cause of much frustration in marriage.

Coitus. The act of sexual intercourse: penetration of the vagina by the penis with emission of seminal fluid.

Coitus Interruptus. The practice of withdrawing the penis before emission, in order to prevent conception. Its sole merit is that it may be looked upon more favourably by those condemning mechanical contraception on religious grounds. However it is grossly unreliable, and thought by most psychiatrists to produce tension-states in many women by depriving them of sexual orgasm (q.v.).

Commitment. The act or state of pledging oneself.

Complex. A group of ideas, thoughts and feelings, often wholly repressed with strong emotional content, e.g. Oedipus complex (q.v.)

Connubial. Pertaining to marriage.

Consummation. The end of a developing process—specifically, the physical completion of a marriage.

Contraceptive. A device designed to prevent conception, usually by inter­posing a barrier between the male emission of seminal fluid and the female uterus (womb). Various devices within the womb itself, producing sterility, have fallen rightly into disuse. Chemicals to be inserted into the vagina, and latterly for the woman to take by mouth, have also been developed.

Cycle. A series of recurring events—e.g. menstrual cycle.

Depression. Lowering of psycho-physical activity, caused by an emotional attitude involving feelings of inadequacy and hoplessness. Common during menopause (see under Menstruation).