The full sub-title is as follows: "THE WHIP AS AN INSTRUMENT OF PUNISHMENT, TORTURE, SELF-BEATINGS, RELIGION AND EROTIC STIMULATION." Quoted from the author's "Introduction."
"The subject of flagellation, or whipping, has a unique interest from the fact that the same practice has been adopted by men as a means of extinguishing and of promoting what they call lustful impulses. Between the two extremes, the ascetic who flogs himself when he feels
that his sex impulse is stirring or in order to keep it inanimate and the normal man who is stimulated by the whip, there is a broad world of types and experiences that more nearly link the extremes than is generally supposed and makes the history of the practice one of the
quaintest in the study of human behavior. This history may broadly be divided into three sections. To unsophisticated man the whip — in Latin flagellum — is simply an instrument of cruelty. We therefore find it almost exclusively used for punishment until the Roman mind, in the early decadence of the great Greek-Roman civilization, begins to perceive other aspects of it. Until the Christian era opens therefore, and in most of the world since that time, the whip, wherever it was known, was the most familiar implement for the punishment of crimes or offenses. How far the brutal use of it was in many cases motivated by a sadistic feeling we shall inquire when the facts suggest this, but for most of us there is little or no interest in the development of forms of punishment or torture, and we will not linger over that long early stretch of man 's history.
A new chapter was opened when the Christian religion put sexual offenses, and even the thought of them, on the same level of misbehavior as crimes, if not on a lower level. I will recall at the proper place how we correct the traditional error that is involved in this statement.
The reprobation of sex as such, and apart from marriage, began several centuries before the Christian Era, but as that era developed it took on a more complex form and the world began to learn from its teachers that the most peremptory of human urges was a diabolical impulse that must be strangled in its birth or expiated by suffering. In the minority of the race that took the Christian ethic seriously lashing by one's own hand or by others, reached a veritable fury of virtue, and the self-tormenter was as proud of the scars on his back and loins as the soldier was of the scars on his breast. The anemic and untruthful manuals of history which are now used in our schools, even in our universities, so seriously falsify the taste and standards of that age that folk are not inclined to believe how gross, from our modern angle, were the practices even of the ascetic."