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Whether desire for coition is caused by the hot or the cold.

One asks further, whether desire for coition is caused by the hot or the cold.

1. It seems that it does not occur because of heat, because repletion aids in coition, and this is why gluttony [ gula] and wantonness [luxuria] have a great deal in common. And a thing whose function it is to consume and to empty does not contribute to coition. But heat is like this, and therefore, etc.

2. Moreover, the causes of contraries are contrary, or the same thing existing in diverse modes. But attraction and expulsion are contraries, and the attractive power operates with a mediating heat; therefore, the expulsive power does not. But expulsion is present in generation or coition, and therefore, etc.

3. Moreover, the desire for food or drink occurs with a mediating cold. Therefore, so too, for the same reason, does the desire for coition.

To the contrary. Desire is greater in a woman than in a female brute beast. But this is only because a woman is hotter, and therefore, etc.

One must reply that desire in coition occurs because of heat.

And the reason for this is that the motion of the hot and the motion of the cold are contrary to one another. For heat moves from the center to the circumference, but cold moves from the circumference to the center. But in coition the motion of the semen occurs as if from the center to the circumference, because it moves from inside to outside. Therefore, it occurs with a mediating heat.

Moreover, the opening of the pathways is required for generation, so that the semen may exit or cross over more freely. But heat opens and cold constricts, and therefore, etc.

An indication of this is that hot animals, like sparrows and doves, copulate and generate a great deal, and likewise, women who are hotter have greater desire than cold ones. And this is why it is said that coition occurs because of heat, as if because of an instrument.

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that heat is of two types. One is elemental heat, and its business is to consume and to empty. Another heat is in something composed of an element and it does not exist in extremity, the way it does in an element, but it is rather ruled by the power of a superior. Heat such as this is in animals, for it is ruled by the soul. Thus, whatever aliment is digested in the animal occurs through heat; but the fact that it is digested this way or that occurs through the soul's power. And heat like this can contribute to repletion and not only to emptying something.

Or one can state in another way that heat's operation is twofold. One operation is to open the pathways, and the other is to consume what is superfluous. It contributes to coition or is a medium for coition in the first way, but not in the second.

2. To the second argument one must reply that by virtue of its double operation heat can both expel and attract. Because it consumes and empties, it can attract; but because it opens the pathways, it can expel.

3. To the third argument one must respond that motion in desire [appetitus] (that is, in the consumption of food) is from the circumference to the center, and this is why it occurs by virtue of the cold. But in the emission of the seed it is from the center to the circumference, and this is why it occurs by virtue of the hot. In this way a solution is apparent.

Whether the operation of coition flourishes more in a cold or hot region.

Further, one asks in which region the operation of coition flourishes more, whether in a hot or a cold one.

1. It seems that it flourishes more in a cold one. For when the nutritive operation comes to an end, the generative operation begins. For at the point where the nutriment is converted into some member, as it were, sperm and semen arise from its superfluity. Therefore, where the nutritive operation flourishes more, there too will the generative operation flourish more. But this occurs in cold places, because in cold places the internal heat is fortified owing to the surrounding cold. Therefore, in a cold season an animal requires more nutriment. Since the nutritive power is fortified in cold places, so too will the generative power be fortified.

2. Moreover, an abundance of one superfluity diminishes another, for the abundance of urine diminishes the excrement, and contrariwise. But semen and sweat are superfluities of the third digestion. Since, then, sweat increases in hot places, in these same places a diminution of the semen will occur.

3. Moreover, human or animal semen is moist. But in cold places moisture is more abundant than in warm places; therefore, etc.

The opposite is apparent to the senses. For humans in warm lands are stimulated to coition more.

To this one must reply that two things are required for generation, which occurs through coition: namely, a superfluity of the aliment acting as the matter, and a heat opening the pores and pathways acting as an efficient cause. But the pores and pathways to the outside are closed in cold places owing to the surrounding cold, and in warm places they are opened. And this is why, with respect to the efficient cause, coition flourishes more in warm than in cold places. But in cold places the nutritive power is fortified, for a contrary is fortified in the presence of its contrary, as is said in the first book of On Meterology.[1] And this is why the water in some springs is colder in summer and warmer in winter, because during the summer the cold flees through the surrounding heat to the bubbling water of the spring, and this is why the water is cold then; and contrariwise, in winter, because the heat flees inward through the surrounding cold, and is incorporated into the source of the spring. Thus in cold places, if a lot of nutriment abounds, then there is a lot of superfluity there, and as a result a lot of the matter for the semen as well. And so too the generative power flourishes more in cold places than in warm places as far as the material cause is concerned. An indication of this is that, of all the animals, fish multiply most. If, however, nutriment should be lacking in cold places, then the whole nutriment is converted into the substance of the members, and little remains there of the superfluous nutriment, and as a result there is little for the semen's matter.

One can say, however, that some animals are naturally cold and others naturally warm. In cold animals the powers are not strengthened in cold places, as is evident in the case of flies and serpents, but are further weakened instead. In warm animals, however, the interior powers are strengthened in cold places. And this is why the generative power flourishes more in warm animals in cold places than it does in warm places, yet in warm places the animals are more stimulated for coition, while in cold places the generative power is intensified more.

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that in cold places the nutritive power is so intensified that the entire aliment is converted into the substance of the members, and there is little there that is superfluous, and therefore the nutritive power is intensified or flourishes there, whereas the generative power slacks off.

Or one can put it another way and say that the generative power flourishes more in cold places with respect to the material cause, whereas with respect to the efficient cause it flourishes more in warm places.

  • [1] Ar., Meteora 1.12 (348b30f.); cf. A., Meteora 2.1.31.
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