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On The Generation Of Animals   


is a secretion. Generally speaking women suffer neither from
haemorrhoids nor bleeding at the nose nor anything else of the sort
except when the catamenia are ceasing, and if anything of the kind
occurs the flow is interfered with because the discharge is diverted
to it.

Further, the blood-vessels of women stand out less than those of
men, and women are rounder and smoother because the secretion which in
men goes to these vessels is drained away with the catamenia. We
must suppose, too, that the same cause accounts for the fact that
the bulk of the body is smaller in females than in males among the
vivipara, since this is the only class in which the catamenia are
discharged from the body. And in this class the fact is clearest in
women, for the discharge is greater in women than in the other
animals. Wherefore her pallor and the absence of prominent
blood-vessels is most conspicuous, and the deficient development of
her body compared with a man's is obvious.

Now since this is what corresponds in the female to the semen in the
male, and since it is not possible that two such discharges should
be found together, it is plain that the female does not contribute
semen to the generation of the offspring. For if she had semen she
would not have the catamenia; but, as it is, because she has the
latter she has not the former.

It has been stated then that the catamenia are a secretion as the
semen is, and confirmation of this view may be drawn from some of
the phenomena of animals. For fat creatures produce less semen than
lean ones, as observed before. The reason is that fat also, like
semen, is a secretion, is in fact concocted blood, only not
concocted in the same way as the semen. Thus, if the secretion is
consumed to form fat the semen is naturally deficient. And so among
the bloodless animals the cephalopoda and crustacea are in best
condition about the time of producing eggs, for, because they are
bloodless and no fat is formed in them, that which is analogous in
them to fat is at that season drawn off to form the spermatic
secretion.

And a proof that the female does not emit similar semen to the male,
and that the offspring is not formed by a mixture of both, as some
say, is that often the female conceives without the sensation of
pleasure in intercourse, and if again the pleasure is experience by
her no less than by the male and the two sexes reach their goal
together, yet often no conception takes place unless the liquid of the
so-called catamenia is present in a right proportion. Hence the female
does not produce young if the catamenia are absent altogether, nor
often when, they being present, the efflux still continues; but she
does so after the purgation. For in the one case she has not the
nutriment or material from which the foetus can be framed by the power
coming from the male and inherent in the semen, and in the other it is
washed away with the catamenia because of their abundance. But when
after their occurrence the greater part has been evacuated, the
remainder is formed into a foetus. Cases of conception when the
catamenia do not occur at all, or of conception during their discharge
instead of after it, are due to the fact that in the former instance
there is only so much liquid to begin with as remains behind after the
discharge in fertile women, and no greater quantity is secreted so
as to come away from the body, while in the latter instance the
mouth of the uterus closes after the discharge. When, therefore, the
quantity already expelled from the body is great but the discharge
still continues, only not on such a scale as to wash away the semen,
then it is that conception accompanies coition. Nor is it at all
strange that the catamenia should still continue after conception
(for even after it they recur to some extent, but are scanty and do

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