As has been intimated, the modern woman who has entered into the economic competition is often reluctant to abandon this activity for the responsibilities of wifehood and motherhood, which involve a withdrawal from the business world. Just as the materialistic rewards of economic activities often prove more attractive than the emotional satisfactions of family life, so, too, the intellectual ambitions of the professional woman may deter her from the exercise of her reproductive functions. Thus the egoistic and individualistic tendencies which modern social organization fosters in the personality of its feminine members makes them unwilling to sacrifice their ambitious plans in the performance of their natural biological functions.
In the present speeding up of competition, the entrance upon family life becomes almost as burdensome to man as to woman, although in a different manner. Free as he is from the biological responsibilities connected with childbearing which fall to a woman’s lot, he finds the economic responsibilities which the care of children entails equally grilling. His choice of a profession can no longer be decided by his own preferences, but must be determined by the economic returns. He can never afford to sacrifice financial gain for personal recognition, because of his obligation to provide for his family. Thus it happens that marriage often presents a situation in which no outlet for personal ambitions is possible and the egoistic desires and emotions must be sternly repressed. There is therefore an increasing hesitancy on the part of the men of to-day to assume responsibilities so grave and involving so much personal sacrifice.
It is evident from even such a casual inquiry as this, that there are many facts of individual psychology which have not been taken into account by society in the development of the mores which govern the sexual relationships of its members. The traditional institution of the family, which would shape all women into model wives and mothers, has neglected to consider the fact that not all women are biologically adapted for these particular activities. The choice of a mate which is determined by irrational and unconscious motives may or may not prove to be a wise selection, as we have seen in the course of our discussion. Most significant of all for the social problem of sex, is the overwhelming tendency to individuation which is making both men and women frankly question whether marriage and parenthood are worth while when they involve so much personal sacrifice.
From the viewpoint of psychology, we may briefly summarize the whole situation by saying that society has imposed upon its members a uniform and inflexible type of sexual relationships and reproductive activities with a total disregard of individual differences in its demand for conformity to these traditions. When the infinite number of variations and modifications possible in the sexual life of different individuals