These are merely specimen cases. Cases A, B, and C illustrate my assertions that parents are wonderfully blind; Cases B and E, that quite exceptional refinement in a boy gives no protection from temptation to impurity; Case D, that a boy, even in an extreme case, does not know that the habit is injurious. In respect of their severity, C, D, and E are not normal but extreme cases. The reader must not imagine that boys ordinarily suffer as much as these did.
PREVALENCE OF IMPURITY AMONG BOYS: THE OPINIONS OF CANON LYTTELTON, DR. DUKES, AND OTHERS.
I propose now to make clear to the reader the fact that the conclusions I have reached as to the existence of sexual knowledge among boys, and as to the prevalence of self-abuse, are entirely borne out by the opinion of the most distinguished teachers and medical men.
Canon Lyttelton writes with an authority which no one will question. Educated at Eton, he was for two years an assistant master at Wellington College; then, for fifteen years, headmaster of Haileybury College, and has now been headmaster of Eton for over six years. He has intimate knowledge of boys, derived, as regards the question of purity, from confidential talks with them. The quotations which follow are from his work Training of the Young in Laws of Sex. Canon Lyttelton does not think it needful to make statements as to the prevalence of impurity among boys. He rather assumes that this prevalence is obvious and, under present conditions, inevitable. I have already quoted one passage which involves this assumption, and now invite the reader to consider two others. “In the school life of boys, in spite of very great improvements, it is impossible that sexual subjects should be wholly avoided in common talk.... Though, in preparatory schools of little boys under fourteen, the increasing vigilance of masters, and constant supervision, combined with constant employment, reduce the evil of prurient talk to a minimum, yet these subjects will crop up.... It should be remembered that the boys who are talkative about such subjects are just those whose ideas are most distorted and vicious. In the public school, owing not only to freer talk and more mixed company but to the boy’s own wider range of vision, sexual questions, and also those connected with the structure of the body, come to the fore and begin to occupy more or less of the thoughts of all but a peculiarly constituted minority of the whole number.