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On The Generation Of Animals   

not last during all the period of gestation; this, however, is a
morbid phenomenon, wherefore it is found only in a few cases and
then seldom, whereas it is that which happens as a regular thing
that is according to Nature).

It is clear then that the female contributes the material for
generation, and that this is in the substance of the catamenia, and
that they are a secretion.


Some think that the female contributes semen in coition because
the pleasure she experiences is sometimes similar to that of the male,
and also is attended by a liquid discharge. But this discharge is
not seminal; it is merely proper to the part concerned in each case,
for there is a discharge from the uterus which occurs in some women
but not in others. It is found in those who are fair-skinned and of
a feminine type generally, but not in those who are dark and of a
masculine appearance. The amount of this discharge, when it occurs, is
sometimes on a different scale from the emission of semen and far
exceeds it. Moreover, different kinds of food cause a great difference
in the quantity of such discharges; for instance some
pungently-flavoured foods cause them to be conspicuously increased.
And as to the pleasure which accompanies coition it is due to emission
not only of semen, but also of a spiritus, the coming together of
which precedes the emission. This is plain in the case of boys who are
not yet able to emit semen, but are near the proper age, and of men
who are impotent, for all these are capable of pleasure by
attrition. And those who have been injured in the generative organs
sometimes suffer from diarrhoea because the secretion, which they
are not able to concoct and turn into semen, is diverted into the
intestine. Now a boy is like a woman in form, and the woman is as it
were an impotent male, for it is through a certain incapacity that the
female is female, being incapable of concocting the nutriment in its
last stage into semen (and this is either blood or that which is
analogous to it in animals which are bloodless owing to the coldness
of their nature). As then diarrhoea is caused in the bowels by the
insufficient concoction of the blood, so are caused in the
blood-vessels all discharges of blood, including that of the
catamenia, for this also is such a discharge, only it is natural
whereas the others are morbid.

Thus it is clear that it is reasonable to suppose that generation
comes from this. For the catamenia are semen not in a pure state but
in need of working up, as in the formation of fruits the nutriment
is present, when it is not yet sifted thoroughly, but needs working up
to purify it. Thus the catamenia cause generation mixture with the
semen, as this impure nutriment in plants is nutritious when mixed
with pure nutriment.

And a sign that the female does not emit semen is the fact that
the pleasure of intercourse is caused by touch in the same region of
the female as of the male; and yet is it not from thence that this
flow proceeds. Further, it is not all females that have it at all, but
only the sanguinea, and not all even of these, but only those whose
uterus is not near the hypozoma and which do not lay eggs; it is not
found in the animals which have no blood but only the analogous fluid
(for what is blood in the former is represented by another fluid in
the latter). The reason why neither the latter nor those sanguinea
mentioned (i.e. those whose uterus is low and which do not lay eggs)
have this effluxion is the dryness of their bodies; this allows but
little matter to be secreted, only enough for generation but not
enough to be discharged from the body. All animals that are viviparous
without producing eggs first (such are man and all quadrupeds which

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