Links To You


ALMOST any of us can recall the sense of shame we felt on the first occasion of being questioned by a physician about parts or functions of the body which we had previously regarded as unmentionable. Even though we realized that the ordeal was unavoidable, we could not help being momentarily shocked at such an invasion of our private lives, and it was often with no little embarrassment that we struggled to express ourselves in answering the doctor's questions. The only words we knew belonged to the realm of the obscene. They had always served as a medium for indecent jokes and not as a means of conveying important information about the human body. So, when we found ourselves for the first time really needing to express certain ideas, we were at a loss to find appropriate words. Fortunately, the physician usually came to our rescue and provided us with enough vocabulary to enable him to save our lives.
If we were blessed with a large enough number and variety of ailments, we came in time to be almost as articulate and free of embarrassment as the doctor himself in mentioning the unmentionable. We then found a real satisfaction in being able to deal with the facts of life objectively and dispassionately, like a scientist. Instead of feeling that such conversation was indecent, we found in it a higher and more wholesome sort of decency than we had previously known. Obscenity lost its flavor. Jokes, which when analyzed proved to be nothing more than uttering or almost uttering some forbidden words, became pointless when we had grown accustomed to using other words of precisely the same meaning in a matter-of-fact, unsalacious way. In fact, we saw that the moral taboo which had been placed on all words relating to excretion and sex was itself responsible for the existence of most of what we called obscenity. We saw that without irrational social inhibitions, most obscenity would disappear.