Studies in the Psychology of Sex v6

Studies in Sexual Psychology

Book 7
谷月社
1
Free sample

A man's sexual nature, like all else that is most essential in him, is rooted in a soil that was formed very long before his birth. In this, as in every other respect, he draws the elements of his life from his ancestors, however new the recombination may be and however greatly it may be modified by subsequent conditions. A man's destiny stands not in the future but in the past. That, rightly considered, is the most vital of all vital facts. Every child thus has a right to choose his own ancestors. Naturally he can only do this vicariously, through his parents. It is the most serious and sacred duty of the future father to choose one half of the ancestral and hereditary character of his future child; it is the most serious and sacred duty of the future mother to make a similar choice.[1] In choosing each other they have between them chosen the whole ancestry of their child. They have determined the stars that will rule his fate.

In the past that fateful determination has usually been made helplessly, ignorantly, almost unconsciously. It has either been guided by an instinct which, on the whole, has worked out fairly well, or controlled by economic interests of the results of which so much cannot be said, or left to the risks of lower than bestial chances which can produce nothing but evil. In the future we cannot but have faith—for all the hope of humanity must rest on that faith—that a new guiding impulse, reinforcing natural instinct and becoming in time an inseparable accompaniment of it, will lead civilized man on his racial course. Just as in the past the race has, on the whole, been moulded by a natural, and in part sexual, selection, that was unconscious of itself and ignorant of the ends it made towards, so in the future the race will be moulded by deliberate selection, the creative energy of Nature becoming self-conscious in the civilized brain of man. This is not a faith which has its source in a vague hope. The problems of the individual life are linked on to the fate of the racial life, and again and again we shall find as we ponder the individual questions we are here concerned with, that at all points they ultimately converge towards this same racial end.

Since we have here, therefore, to follow out the sexual relationships of the individual as they bear on society, it will be convenient at this point to put aside the questions of ancestry and to accept the individual as, with hereditary constitution already determined, he lies in his mother's womb.

 

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About the author

Henry Havelock Ellis, known as Havelock Ellis (2 February 1859 – 8 July 1939), was an English physician, writer, progressive intellectual and social reformer who studied human sexuality. He was co-author of the first medical textbook in English on homosexuality in 1897, and also published works on a variety of sexual practices and inclinations, including transgender psychology. He is credited with introducing the notions of narcissism and autoeroticism, later adopted by psychoanalysis. He served as president of the Galton Institute and, like many intellectuals of his era, supported eugenics.

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Publisher
谷月社
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Published on
Nov 7, 2015
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Pages
565
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Language
English
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Genres
Body, Mind & Spirit / Parapsychology / General
Body, Mind & Spirit / Sacred Sexuality
Health & Fitness / Sexuality
Psychology / General
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The sexual question is of fundamental importance for humanity, whose happiness and well-being depend largely on the best solution of this important problem. In dealing with such a delicate subject I shall endeavor to avoid narrow-mindedness and prejudice; I shall avoid tiresome quotations, and shall only employ technical terms when necessary, as they rather interfere with the comprehension of the subject. I shall take care to explain all those which appear to me indispensable.

My opinions on the sexual question are based, on the one hand, on my scientific study of the human brain, and on the other hand on the long personal experience of an alienist who has devoted himself almost as much to normal mentality and questions of social hygiene as to pathological mentality. I have, however, been obliged to rely on the fundamental work of Westermark with regard to ethnology, this subject being strange to me. Concerning sexual psycho-pathology I have followed the classification of Krafft-Ebing.

The sexual question is extraordinarily complex, and we cannot expect to find a simple solution for it as we can for the questions of alcoholism, slavery, torture, etc. The latter are [4]solved in one word—suppression. Suppression of slavery and torture; suppression of the usage of alcoholic drinks. We are concerned here with ulcers artificially produced and preserved in human society; ulcers which must be simply extirpated. Their suppression is nothing but beneficial, since, far from being connected with the normal conditions of human existence, they place it in peril. Sexual instinct and sentiment, on the contrary, have their roots in life itself; they are intimately bound up with humanity, and therefore require quite a different treatment. But human society has guided them into false and pernicious ways. It is important to turn them from these in order to tranquilize and regulate their course by damming them up and canalizing them.

The fundamental axiom of the sexual question is as follows: With man, as with all living beings, the constant object of all sexual function, and consequently of sexual love, is the reproduction of the species. It is therefore necessary to treat the question from the point of view of the natural sciences, physiology, psychology and sociology. This has already been done more than once, but usually in erudite treatises which only look upon one side of the question; or, on the other hand, in a superficial and often frivolous manner.

To ensure happiness, humanity should desire to reproduce itself in a manner which elevates progressively all the physical and mental faculties of man, with regard to health and bodily strength, as much as to sentiment, intelligence, will, creative imagination, love of work, joy of living, and the sentiment of social solidarity. Every attempt made to solve the sexual question should, therefore, be directed toward the future and toward the happiness of our descendants.

 

Modesty, which may be provisionally defined as an almost instinctive fear prompting to concealment and usually centering around the sexual processes, while common to both sexes is more peculiarly feminine, so that it may almost be regarded as the chief secondary sexual character of women on the psychical side. The woman who is lacking in this kind of fear is lacking, also, in sexual attractiveness to the normal and average man. The apparent exceptions seem to prove the rule, for it will generally be found that the women who are, not immodest (for immodesty is more closely related to modesty than mere negative absence of the sense of modesty), but without that fear which implies the presence of a complex emotional feminine organization to defend, only make a strong sexual appeal to men who are themselves lacking in the complementary masculine qualities. As a psychical secondary sexual character of the first rank, it is necessary, before any psychology of sex can be arranged in order, to obtain a clear view of modesty.

The immense importance of feminine modesty in creating masculine passion must be fairly obvious. I may, however, quote the observations of two writers who have shown evidence of insight and knowledge regarding this matter.

Casanova describes how, when at Berne, he went to the baths, and was, according to custom, attended by a young girl, whom he selected from a group of bath attendants. She undressed him, proceeded to undress herself, and then entered the bath with him, and rubbed him thoroughly all over, the operation being performed in the most serious manner and without a word being spoken. When all was over, however, he perceived that the girl had expected him to make advances, and he proceeds to describe and discuss his own feelings of indifference under such circumstances. "Though without gazing on the girl's figure, I had seen enough to recognize that she had all that a man can desire to find in a woman: a beautiful face, lively and well-formed eyes, a beautiful mouth, with good teeth, a healthy complexion, well-developed breasts, and everything in harmony. It is true that I had felt that her hands could have been smoother, but I could only attribute this to hard work; moreover, my Swiss girl was only eighteen, and yet I remained entirely cold. What was the cause of this? That was the question that I asked myself."
 Sexual inversion, as here understood, means sexual instinct turned by inborn constitutional abnormality toward persons of the same sex. It is thus a narrower term than homosexuality, which includes all sexual attractions between persons of the same sex, even when seemingly due to the accidental absence of the natural objects of sexual attraction, a phenomenon of wide occurrence among all human races and among most of the higher animals. It is only during recent years that sexual inversion has been recognized; previously it was not distinguished from homosexuality in general, and homosexuality was regarded as a national custom, as an individual vice, or as an unimportant episode in grave forms of insanity.[1] We have further to distinguish sexual inversion and all other forms of homosexuality from another kind of inversion which usually remains, so far as the sexual impulse itself is concerned, heterosexual, that is to say, normal. Inversion of this kind leads a person to feel like a person of the opposite sex, and to adopt, so far as possible, the tastes, habits, and dress of the opposite sex, while the direction of the sexual impulse remains normal. This condition I term sexo-esthetic inversion, or Eonism.

The nomenclature of the highly important form of sexual perversion with which we are here concerned is extremely varied, and most investigators have been much puzzled in coming to a conclusion as to the best, most exact, and at the same time most colorless names to apply to it.

The first in the field in modern times was Ulrichs who, as early as 1862, used the appellation "Uranian" (Uranier), based on the well-known myth in Plato's Banquet. Later he Germanized this term into "Urning" for the male, and "Urningin" for the female, and referred to the condition itself as "Urningtum." He also invented a number of other related terms on the same basis; some of these terms have had a considerable vogue, but they are too fanciful and high-strung to secure general acceptance. If used in other languages than German they certainly should not be used in their Germanized shape, and it is scarcely legitimate to use the term "Urning" in English. "Uranian" is more correct.
The term "sexual instinct" may be said to cover the whole of the neuropsychic phenomena of reproduction which man shares with the lower animals. It is true that much discussion has taken place concerning the proper use of the term "instinct," and some definitions of instinctive action would appear to exclude the essential mechanism of the process whereby sexual reproduction is assured. Such definitions scarcely seem legitimate, and are certainly unfortunate. Herbert Spencer's definition of instinct as "compound reflex action" is sufficiently clear and definite for ordinary use.

A fairly satisfactory definition of instinct is that supplied by Dr. and Mrs. Peckham in the course of their study On the Instincts and Habits of Solitary Wasps. "Under the term 'instinct,'" they say, "we place all complex acts which are performed previous to experience and in a similar manner by all members of the same sex and race, leaving out as non-essential, at this time, the question of whether they are or are not accompanied by consciousness." This definition is quoted with approval by Lloyd Morgan, who modifies and further elaborates it (Animal Behavior, 1900, p. 21). "The distinction between instinctive and reflex behavior," he remarks, "turns in large degree on their relative complexity," and instinctive behavior, he concludes, may be said to comprise "those complex groups of co-ordinated acts which are, on their first occurrence, independent of experience; which tend to the well-being of the individual and the preservation of the race; which are due to the co-operation of external and internal stimuli; which are similarly performed by all the members of the same more or less restricted group of animals; but which are subject to variation, and to subsequent modification under the guidance of experience." Such a definition clearly justifies us in speaking of a "sexual instinct." It may be added that the various questions involved in the definition of the sexual instinct have been fully discussed by Moll in the early sections of his Untersuchungen über die Libido Sexualis.

Of recent years there has been a tendency to avoid the use of the term "instinct," or, at all events, to refrain from attaching any serious scientific sense to it. Loeb's influence has especially given force to this tendency. Thus, while Piéron, in an interesting discussion of the question ("Les Problèmes Actuels de l'Instinct," Revue Philosophique, Oct., 1908), thinks it would still be convenient to retain the term, giving it a philosophical meaning, Georges Bohn, who devotes a chapter to the notion of instinct (La Naissance de l'Intelligence, 1909), is strongly in favor of eliminating the word, as being merely a legacy of medieval theologians and metaphysicians, serving to conceal our ignorance or our lack of exact analysis.
umescence—the process by which the organism is brought into the physical and psychic state necessary to insure conjugation and detumescence—to some extent comes about through the spontaneous action of internal forces. To that extent it is analogous to the physical and psychic changes which accompany the gradual filling of the bladder and precede its evacuation. But even among animals who are by no means high in the zoölogical scale the process is more complicated than this. External stimuli act at every stage, arousing or heightening the process of tumescence, and in normal human beings it may be said that the process is never completed without the aid of such stimuli, for even in the auto-erotic sphere external stimuli are still active, either actually or in imagination.

The chief stimuli which influence tumescence and thus direct sexual choice come chiefly—indeed, exclusively—through the four senses of touch, smell, hearing, and sight. All the phenomena of sexual selection, so far as they are based externally, act through these four senses.[1] The reality of the influence thus exerted may be demonstrated statistically even in civilized man, and it has been shown that, as regards, for instance, eye-color, conjugal partners differ sensibly from the unmarried persons by whom they are surrounded. When, therefore, we are exploring the nature of the influence which stimuli, acting through the sensory channels, exert on the strength and direction of the sexual impulse, we are intimately concerned with the process by which the actual form and color, not alone of living things generally, but of our own species, have been shaped and are still being shaped. At the same time, it is probable, we are exploring the mystery which underlies all the subtle appreciations, all the emotional undertones, which are woven in the web of the whole world as it appeals to us through those sensory passages by which alone it can reach us. We are here approaching, therefore, a fundamental subject of unsurpassable importance, a subject which has not yet been accurately explored save at a few isolated points and one which it is therefore impossible to deal with fully and adequately. Yet it cannot be passed over, for it enters into the whole psychology of the sexual instinct.

 

The sexual question is of fundamental importance for humanity, whose happiness and well-being depend largely on the best solution of this important problem. In dealing with such a delicate subject I shall endeavor to avoid narrow-mindedness and prejudice; I shall avoid tiresome quotations, and shall only employ technical terms when necessary, as they rather interfere with the comprehension of the subject. I shall take care to explain all those which appear to me indispensable.

My opinions on the sexual question are based, on the one hand, on my scientific study of the human brain, and on the other hand on the long personal experience of an alienist who has devoted himself almost as much to normal mentality and questions of social hygiene as to pathological mentality. I have, however, been obliged to rely on the fundamental work of Westermark with regard to ethnology, this subject being strange to me. Concerning sexual psycho-pathology I have followed the classification of Krafft-Ebing.

The sexual question is extraordinarily complex, and we cannot expect to find a simple solution for it as we can for the questions of alcoholism, slavery, torture, etc. The latter are [4]solved in one word—suppression. Suppression of slavery and torture; suppression of the usage of alcoholic drinks. We are concerned here with ulcers artificially produced and preserved in human society; ulcers which must be simply extirpated. Their suppression is nothing but beneficial, since, far from being connected with the normal conditions of human existence, they place it in peril. Sexual instinct and sentiment, on the contrary, have their roots in life itself; they are intimately bound up with humanity, and therefore require quite a different treatment. But human society has guided them into false and pernicious ways. It is important to turn them from these in order to tranquilize and regulate their course by damming them up and canalizing them.

The fundamental axiom of the sexual question is as follows: With man, as with all living beings, the constant object of all sexual function, and consequently of sexual love, is the reproduction of the species. It is therefore necessary to treat the question from the point of view of the natural sciences, physiology, psychology and sociology. This has already been done more than once, but usually in erudite treatises which only look upon one side of the question; or, on the other hand, in a superficial and often frivolous manner.

To ensure happiness, humanity should desire to reproduce itself in a manner which elevates progressively all the physical and mental faculties of man, with regard to health and bodily strength, as much as to sentiment, intelligence, will, creative imagination, love of work, joy of living, and the sentiment of social solidarity. Every attempt made to solve the sexual question should, therefore, be directed toward the future and toward the happiness of our descendants.

 

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Modesty, which may be provisionally defined as an almost instinctive fear prompting to concealment and usually centering around the sexual processes, while common to both sexes is more peculiarly feminine, so that it may almost be regarded as the chief secondary sexual character of women on the psychical side. The woman who is lacking in this kind of fear is lacking, also, in sexual attractiveness to the normal and average man. The apparent exceptions seem to prove the rule, for it will generally be found that the women who are, not immodest (for immodesty is more closely related to modesty than mere negative absence of the sense of modesty), but without that fear which implies the presence of a complex emotional feminine organization to defend, only make a strong sexual appeal to men who are themselves lacking in the complementary masculine qualities. As a psychical secondary sexual character of the first rank, it is necessary, before any psychology of sex can be arranged in order, to obtain a clear view of modesty.

The immense importance of feminine modesty in creating masculine passion must be fairly obvious. I may, however, quote the observations of two writers who have shown evidence of insight and knowledge regarding this matter.

Casanova describes how, when at Berne, he went to the baths, and was, according to custom, attended by a young girl, whom he selected from a group of bath attendants. She undressed him, proceeded to undress herself, and then entered the bath with him, and rubbed him thoroughly all over, the operation being performed in the most serious manner and without a word being spoken. When all was over, however, he perceived that the girl had expected him to make advances, and he proceeds to describe and discuss his own feelings of indifference under such circumstances. "Though without gazing on the girl's figure, I had seen enough to recognize that she had all that a man can desire to find in a woman: a beautiful face, lively and well-formed eyes, a beautiful mouth, with good teeth, a healthy complexion, well-developed breasts, and everything in harmony. It is true that I had felt that her hands could have been smoother, but I could only attribute this to hard work; moreover, my Swiss girl was only eighteen, and yet I remained entirely cold. What was the cause of this? That was the question that I asked myself."
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