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always shall have to examine an incomparably larger number of male
than of female candidates. This is due, not only to the fact that an
incomparably larger number of men suffer from venereal disease, but
also because very few women will confess to their fiances that they
ever entertained antematrimonial relations and--what is still
worse--were infected with venereal disease. This, of course, is owing
to our double standard of morality, which looks upon as a trivial or
no offense in the man what it condemns as a heinous crime in the
woman. I have known hundreds of men who confessed freely to their
fiancees that they had had gonorrhea, but I have known only two girls
who made a confession of the fact to their future husbands. They got
married, however, and lived happily with their husbands ever after.
MARRIAGE AND SYPHILIS
Rules for Permitting a Syphilitic Patient to Marry--Rules More
Severe in Cases Where Children Are Desired--Where Both Partners
Are Syphilitic--Danger of Paresis in Some Syphilitic Patients--A
Case in the Author's Practice.
The problem of the syphilitic differs from the problem of the
exgonorrheal patient. When a gonorrheal patient is cured, so far as
infectivity is concerned, and is not sterile, there is no apprehension
as to the offspring. Gonorrhea is not hereditary, and the child of a
gonorrheal patient does not differ from the child of a nongonorrheal
person. In the case of syphilis, it is different. The patient may be
safe so far as infecting the partner is concerned, but yet there may
be danger for the offspring.
The rules for permitting a man or a woman who once had syphilis to
marry, therefore, are different from those applied to the gonorrheal
patient. Here are the rules:
1. I would make it an invariable rule that no syphilitic patient
should marry or should be permitted to marry before _five_ years have
elapsed from the day of infection. But the period of time alone is
not sufficient; other conditions must be met before we may give a
syphilitic patient permission to marry.
2. The man or the woman must have received thorough systematic
treatment for at least three years, either constantly or off and on,
according to the physician's judgment.
3. For at least one year before the intended marriage, the person must
have been absolutely free from any manifestations of syphilis; that
is, from any eruptions on the skin, from any mucous patches, swelling
in the bones, ulcerations, and so on.
4. Four Wassermann tests, taken at intervals of three months and at a
time _when the patient was receiving no specific treatment_, must be
If these four conditions are fully met, then the patient may be
permitted to marry.
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