No psychologist of discernment, in insisting on eugenic standards rather than a marriage certificate as the best criterion for parenthood would encourage any tendency to promiscuous mating. The individual suffering involved in such a system of sexual relationships would be too great to permit its universal adoption even if it should be found to have no deleterious social effects. But the very fact that transient mating does involve so much human agony, especially on the part of the woman, is all the more reason why it is needless to add artificial burdens to those already compelled by the very nature of the emotional life.
The study of child psychology, too, would tend to discourage any general tendency to temporary sexual relationships. Modern research has shown that nothing is more necessary for the normal development of the child’s emotional life than a happy home environment with the presence of both father and mother. Only in these surroundings, with the love of both parents as a part of the childhood experience, can the emotional reactions of the child be properly conditioned to respond to the social situations of adult life.
In one respect, at least, society can do a great deal to better the existing situation, and to solve the struggle between the individual and group interests. At the same time that it endeavours to set up emotional responses that shall be conducive to eugenic mating and to a happy love life, as well as for the welfare of the child, it should also leave a wide margin of personal liberty for the individuals concerned to work out a type of sexual relationship which is in harmony with their natural inclinations. The institution of monogamy is too deeply founded in the needs of the individual and of the child to suffer from this increase in freedom and responsibility. Were it so frail a thing as to need the protection of the church and state as well as public opinion to insure its survival, it would be so little adapted to the needs of humanity that it might better disappear.
There are no indications that there would be any wider deviation from the monogamous relationship were variations frankly recognized that now take place in secret. By its present attitude, society is not accomplishing its purpose and preventing all sexual relationships except those which conform to its institutionalized standards. It is merely forcing what should be always the most dignified of human relationships into the shamefulness of concealment and furtiveness. Moreover, because it visits its wrath on the child born of unions which are not strictly conventionalized, it prevents the birth of children from mothers who might be of great eugenic value, but whom fear of social disapproval keeps from the exercise of their maternal functions but not of their sexual activities.