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by Ebe Alongi, M. D.

In sex — as in every other aspect of human endeavor — there are giants as well as pygmies.

IN most books on health written in the past, men were almost always advised to have only moderate sexual contact with women, if they wished to have physical and mental vigor. This advice was especially to be applied at certain times of life and in certain circumstances.

Dr. Alongi is assistant at the University Clinic for Nervous and Mental Illnesses of Naples University and, for a number of years has been Official Consultant on psychiatric and neurological problems of the Court of Justice and the District Court of Naples.

Even if one were to grant the correctness of this counsel, we run into difficulty. The moment we ask: “How many times in a month can a man safely sacrifice to the goddess of love?” we find that no one answer can be given for all men.

Biology is far from being an exact science. Man does not live and act according to an established rule, particularly in the area of sex. Any regulation may be too much for some people, too little for others. Nothing is more variable than sexual drive and ability in different individuals.

It is well recognized that intellectual and artistic ability vary greatly from person to person. On the one hand we have the man of genius like Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, or Shakespeare; on the other a mental idiot. Between the two extremes are a multitude who constitute the greater part of mankind.

Man’s sexual power is equally variable and there is an equally wide range between extremes.

Let us take a look at examples which the field of history gives us.

The historian Prisco tells us, for example, that Attila, known as the “scourge of God, ” had an uncountable number of women and that his sons constituted an entire nation. Gibbon, one of the greatest English historians, in his famous work, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, added that Attila died of a stroke while he was sleeping with a beautiful young woman for the first time.

The Emperor Charles V was also a great lover. The Venetian Ambassador declared in a secret memorandum to his government in 1548: “According to reports compiled by his physicians, and as other people very near to him reveal, he is very inclined by nature to sexual pleasure. ” The Emperor was then 48 years old. And the Emperor Proculus, it was reported, violated ten virgins in a single night.

In striking contrast we have Honorius, great Emperor of Byzantium, and Boleslaus, King of Poland. Honorius’ wife Mary died a virgin after ten years of marriage. King Boleslaus, Montaigne narrates in his Essays, in agreement with his wife, maintained complete chastity during his whole life.

We need not go back to ancient history, however. There are more recent examples, referred to by famous scientists.

In the year 1869, the Court of Justice of the Department de l’Ain, France, condemned to jail Mr. Mathieu Grange de Firminy for five years because of violence against a 90-year-old woman.

During the proceeding, it was brought out that the accused, aged 40, had engaged in intercourse twice or more every day for a period of over twenty years.

One great Swiss scientist reported— also in the last century —that a woman in Zurich had told him that one man had made love to her eighteen times during one night.

One young Englishman closed himself in a room with a girl, provided himself with strong wines and exotic foods, and tried to commit suicide by means of excessive love. After four days of continuous sexual relationships he got sick, but he did not die.

Many other unusual sexual feats have been described.

One learned English nobleman, aged 63, was accustomed to make love once every two days and frequently had sexual relations twice in one day. An Italian worker made love regularly three or four times a day, even when he reached the age of fifty. An Italian woman reported fourteen sexual relationships with one lover during one night.

Obviously I recognize that in some of these stories, it is possible to find a certain exaggeration. But it has been well demonstrated scientifically that some unusual individuals find it possible to make love a great many times a day, without any danger to their health.

One woman, after having been treated for frigidity, wrote that her husband, in the first honeymoon week, had had 56 sexual relations with her. In the following months they had made love almost every day. When I discussed this with her husband, a very strong man aged 30, he told me that, in the two months before the wedding, he had been observing sexual abstinence. He claimed that his diet was very strong and also rich in spices and so-called aphrodisiac foods.

A few years ago the newspapers of Naples reported a very curious and rare accident. Two young people, just married, were carried to a hospital. The young man was 22 years old, his wife 18. The woman was in a severe condition of shock. Her husband, in a state of exceptional sexual excitation, had possessed her continuously for two days and two nights.

The man, when in the hospital, was still very excited, both mentally and physically. Only after three days of treatment with sedatives was he reduced to a normal condition. One newspaper published a humorous daily bulletin about that “Fire Honeymoon, ” as it had been labeled.

When questioned, the young man confessed that until marriage, he had relations with females very rarely because of his very poor economic conditions. He was not able to explain his great sexual excitement.

In contrast to these two cases.

I could refer to many cases studied by myself of married men aged between twenty and thirty who never had more than two sexual relations in a month. They were not troubled by this at all, even when they were very strong and in very good health.

Many persons have observed absolute sexual abstinence for months and even years. A well-known mathematician confidentially told me he had coitus with his wife not more than twice a year. He was a normal man, very strong and very intelligent.

These great individual differences, as you can easily understand, make very difficult the establishment of any exact rules, such as for example, were often given in the Middle Ages.

At that time, physicians pre- scribed: “Once a day bad, once a week good, once a month very good. ” Almost at the same time, it might be added, the Queen of Aragon, by royal decree, assigned the limit of six sexual conjunctions a day, and no more, as the normal duty of the husband to his wife.

For sceptics, I might say that this last fact is referred to by the smiling Montaigne in chapter V of the third book of his celebrated Essays.

The waning of virility likewise does not have established periods. Here too we encounter great extremes. While some people, by the time they reach the age of 45, have lost all their sexual ardor and ability, there are others who are still active sexually in their seventies and eighties.

What about woman’s sex capabilities? A comparison with the male cannot be made. The possibilities of sexual love are definitely superior in women because of their different constitutions.

Even if the number may seem exaggerated, prostitutes studied by me assured me that they had daily relations with fifty or sixty men. One of them told me she had intercourse 100 times in fourteen hours.

When a female participates in sexual pleasure more than once a night, she may become tired, but less so than the male. Many women, participating in sexual pleasure several times in a night, have reported to me they did not feel definite fatigue until the day after. Since no woman under thirty told me that, such a phenomenon may manifest itself only after that age.

What then can we conclude from this discussion of extremes in sex behavior? Obviously no one can formulate any definite set of rules for other individuals to follow. The best course is for each person to follow his own nature,, while at the same time keeping in mind the age-old Latin adage, “In medio stat virtus. ” (There is virtue in moderation. )

  1. Thundercat says: June 13, 20084:35 am

    Wow, its interesting to look back a mere 40 years from this age of sex in middle school and tons of bizarre internet porn that having normal intercourse twice a day every day was considered extreme.

  2. Blurgle says: June 14, 20084:46 pm

    It should be pointed out that the assumption that Maria, Honorius’s wife, died a virgin is due to one unsubstantiated passage in Zosimus, who had no way to actually know if Maria was a virgin or not. It’s as likely that Honorius was sterile, as his second wife was also childless (although that marriage was short-lived).

    Zosimus’s intent was to discredit Honorius. He was young and healthy, he was Christian, and he had no children: it wasn’t a stretch at the time for a pagan like Zosimus to portray Honorius (and consequently his wives) as a virgin and to imply that his virginity was part and parcel of his weakness and apathy. (Pagans of the time had little respect for male virginity and thought Christians were degenerate and depraved for caring about it so much.)

    Unfortunately for Honorius, he was Emperor at the time the Teutons sacked Rome and the Western Empire fell, and many of his contemporaries blamed him personally for the fall. (He didn’t really have much to do with it; Rome had fallen by itself so far over the previous centuries that the Teutons only put the Western Empire out of its misery.) Zosimus continues this tradition.

    I know this has little to do with the article at hand, but I had fun writing it. 🙂

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