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Studies in the Psychology of Sex-Auto-Eroticism


from their own point of view, indeed, the entire reasonableness; we are bound to
recognize the admirable spirit in which, successfully or not, they sought to approach
them. We need to-day the same spirit and temper applied from a different
standpoint. These things concern everyone; the study of these things concerns the
physiologist, the psychologist, the moralist. We want to get into possession of the
actual facts, and from the investigation of the facts we want to ascertain what is
normal and what is abnormal, from the point of view of physiology and of
psychology. We want to know what is naturally lawful under the various sexual
chances that may befall man, not as the born child of sin, but as a naturally social
animal. What is a venial sin against nature, what a mortal sin again st nature? The
answers are less easy to reach than the theologians' answers generally were, but we
can at least put ourselves in the right attitude; we may succeed in asking that
question which is sometimes even more than the half of knowledge.
It is perhaps a mistake to show so plainly at the outset that I approach what may
seem only a psychological question not without moral fervour. But I do not wish any
mistake to be made. I regard sex as the central problem of life. And now that the
problem of religion has practically been settled, and that the problem of labor has at
least been placed on a practical foundation, the question of sex—with the racial
questions that rest on it—stands before the coming generations as the chief
problem for solution. Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence
life until we know how to understand sex.—So, at least, it seems to me.
Having said so much, I will try to present such results as I have to record in that cold
and dry light through which alone the goal of knowledge may truly be seen.
HAVELOCK ELLIS.
July, 1897.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The first edition of this volume was published in 1899, following "Sexual Inversion,"
which now forms Volume II. The second edition, issued by the present publishers
and substantially identical with the first edition, appeared in the following year. Ten
years have elapsed since then and this new edition will be found to reflect the
course of that long interval. Not only is the volume greatly enlarged, but ne arly
every page has been partly rewritten. This is mainly due to three causes: Much new
literature required to be taken into account; my own knowledge of the historical
and ethnographic aspects of the sexual impulse has increased; many fresh
illustrative cases of a valuable and instructive character have accumulated in my
hands. It is to these three sources of improvement that the book owes its greatly
revised and enlarged condition, and not to the need for modifying any of its
essential conclusions. These, far from undergoing any change, have by the new
material been greatly strengthened.
It may be added that the General Preface to the whole work, which was originally
published in 1898 at the beginning of "Sexual Inversion," now finds its proper place
at the outset of the present volume.
HAVELOCK ELLIS.
Carbis Bay,
Cornwall, Eng.
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