Whether the retention of the sperm is more harmful to men than is the retention of menses in women.
It is asked, further, whether the retention of the sperm is more harmful to men than is the retention of menses in women.
1. And it seems that the retention of menses is more harmful. This is because the more superfluities there are that are more impure and unclean, and the more they are withdrawn from the work of nature, so much more harmful will their retention be. But such are the superfluities of the menses in comparison to the sperm, and therefore, etc.
2. Moreover, when nature is deprived of a normal operation, then it is more distressed. But nature has ordained specific times for the flow of the menses, but not for the emission of sperm. Therefore, the retention of menses is more harmful than the retention of sperm.
On the contrary, the nobler something is, the more harmful it may be when it departs from the course of nature. But sperm is nobler than the menses. Therefore, the retention of sperm, etc.
To this it must be said that sperm and menses can be considered in two ways: either as they exist in their natural dispositionand thus the sperm is cleaner and purer and its retention causes more injury than the other'sor they can be considered as they exist beyond the disposition of their nature, and in this way the menses is even worse. But then the sperm is held in greater contempt, and the reason for this is that the nobler something is, the more nature hates its corruption and the more it is damaged by its injury. This is why a fever stemming from blood is worse and more dangerous than one stemming from phlegm, bile, or melancholy. Nevertheless, blood is, of all the humors, nature's best friend, yet when it putrefies it is hated more for the same reason, etc. Thus it is in the first premise, etc.
1. In this way a response to the first argument is clear: that although the menses is more impure, its retention nevertheless injures nature less than the unnatural retention of the sperm.
2. To the second argument one must reply that the determination or indeterminacy of a set period for release is not the reason why the retention of sperm is more harmful, but its own bad quality when it is beyond nature's disposition.
Whether the emission of semen weakens the male more than the female.
Further one asks whether the emission of semen weakens the male more than the female.
1. And it seems that it weakens the female more. This is because where there are more emissions, there will be greater weakness. But the male only emits semen; the female, however, emits sperm and menses. Therefore, etc.
2. Besides, the one who takes greater delight in intercourse will be weakened more, according to Avicenna. The reason for this is that, as a result of pleasure, one emits both the necessary and the unnecessary, but the female takes the greater pleasure, and is therefore weakened more.
On the contrary, semen is a superfluity of moisture. But weakness stems from the consumption of moisture and heat. Since, however, there is less moisture in the male than in the female, the male is weakened more, and therefore, etc.
One must reply that greater weakness occurs in the males. The reason for this is that that which is separated from the male is purer and is nearer to a conversion of its substance, and the further such a thing is separated from something, the nearer it is to weakness, and this is why the weakness is greater in the male.
1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that although the woman has two emissions, the single one separated from the male outweighs these two.
2. To the second, one must reply that the pleasure is greater in the woman in a quantitative sense, but in a qualitative sense it is greater in the male, because the male's pleasure is more ordered than the female's. And in this way one can reply to the first argument that the female emits more in a quantitative sense but the male emits more in a qualitative sense. And this is why, etc.