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Studies in the psychology of sex, volume 4 (of 6)

principle by
introducing into it a psychological confusion whereby
the physiological
sensory stimuli through which sexual selection operates
were regarded as
equivalent to æsthetic preferences. This confusion
misled many, and it is
only within recent years (as has been set forth in the
"Analysis of the
Sexual Impulse" in the previous volume of these
_Studies_) that the
investigations and criticisms of numerous workers have
placed the doctrine
of sexual selection on a firm basis by eliminating its
hazardous æsthetic
element. Love springs up as a response to a number of
stimuli to
tumescence, the object that most adequately arouses
tumescence being that
which evokes love; the question of æsthetic beauty,
although it develops
on this basis, is not itself fundamental and need not
even be consciously
present at all. When we look at these phenomena in their
biological aspects, love is only to a limited extent a
response to beauty;
to a greater extent beauty is simply a name for the
complexus of stimuli
which most adequately arouses love. If we analyze these
stimuli to
tumescence as they proceed from a person of the opposite
sex we find that
they are all appeals which must come through the
channels of four senses:
touch, smell, hearing, and, above all, vision. When a
man or a woman
experiences sexual love for one particular person from
among the multitude
by which he or she is surrounded, this is due to the
influences of a group
of stimuli coming through the channels of one or more of
these senses.
There has been a sexual selection conditioned by sensory
stimuli. This is