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useless to do so, for we must bear in mind that no method can be
absolutely approved or absolutely condemned. Each may be suitable under
certain conditions and for certain couples, and it is not easy to
recommend any method indiscriminately. We need to know the intimate
circumstances of individual cases. For the most part, experience is the
"Forel compared the use of contraceptive devices to the use of
eyeglasses, and it is obvious that, without expert advice, the results
in either case may sometimes be mischievous or at all events
ineffective. Personal advice and instruction are always desirable. In
Holland nurses are medically trained in a practical knowledge of
contraceptive methods, and are thus enabled to enlighten the women of
the community. This is an admirable plan. Considering that the use of
contraceptive measures is now almost universal, it is astonishing that
there are yet so many 'civilized' countries in which this method of
enlightenment is not everywhere adopted. Until it is adopted, and a
necessary knowledge of the most fundamental facts of sexual life brought
into every home, the physician must be regarded as the proper adviser.
It is true that until recently he was generally in these matters a blind
leader of the blind. Nowadays it is beginning to be recognized that the
physician has no more serious and responsible duty than that of giving
help in the difficult path of sexual life. Very frequently, indeed, even
yet, he has not risen to a sense of his responsibilities in this matter.
It is well to remember, however, that a physician who is unable or
unwilling to give frank and sound advice in this most important
department of life, is unlikely to be reliable in any other department.
If he is not up to date here, he is probably not up to date anywhere.
"Whatever may be the method adopted, there are certain conditions which
it must fulfill, even apart from its effectiveness as a contraceptive,
in order to be satisfactory. Most of these conditions may be summed up
in one: the most satisfactory method is that which least interferes with
the normal process in the act of intercourse. Every sexual act is, or
should be, a miniature courtship, however long marriage may have lasted.
No outside mental tension or nervous apprehension must be allowed to
intrude. Any contraceptive proceeding which hastily enters the
atmosphere of love immediately before or immediately after the moment of
union is unsatisfactory and may be injurious. It even risks the total
loss of the contraceptive result, for at such moments the intended
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