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The Psychology of Sex- V.3


The present volume of Studies deals with some of the most essential problems of
sexual psychology. The Analysis of the Sexual Impulse is fundamental. Unless we
comprehend the exact process which is being worked out beneath the shifting and
multifold phenomena presented to us we can never hope to grasp in their true
relations any of the normal or abnormal manifestations of this instinct. I do not
claim that the conception of the process here stated is novel or original. Indeed,
even since I began to work it out some years ago, various investigators in these
fields, especially in Germany, have deprived it of any novelty it might otherwise
have possessed, while at the same time aiding me in reaching a more precise
statement. This is to me a cause of satisfaction. On so fundamental a matter I should
have been sorry to find myself tending to a peculiar and individual standpoint. It is a
source of gratification to me that the positions I have reached are those toward
which current intelligent and scientific opinions are tending. Any originality in my
study of this problem can only lie in the bringing together of elements from
somewhat diverse fields. I shall be content if it is found that I have attained a fairly
balanced, general, and judicial statement of these main factors in the sexual instinct.
In the study of Love and Pain I have discussed the sources of those aberrations
which are commonly called, not altogether happily, "sadism" and "masochism." Here
we are brought before the most extreme and perhaps the most widely known group
of sexual perversions. I have considered them from the medico -legal standpoint,
because that has already been done by other writers whose works are accessible. I
have preferred to show how these aberrations may be explained; how they may be
linked on to normal and fundamental aspects of the sexual impulse; and, indeed, in
their elementary forms, may themselves be regarded as normal. In some degree
they are present, in every case, at some point of sexual development; their threads
are subtly woven in and out of the whole psychological process of sex. I have made
no attempt to reduce their complexity to a simplicity that would be fallacious. I hope
that my attempt to unravel these long and tangled threads will be found to make
them fairly clear.
In the third study, on The Sexual Impulse in Women, we approach a practical
question of applied sexual psychology, and a question of the first importance. No
doubt the sex impulse in men is of great moment from the social point of view. It is,
however, fairly obvious and well understood. The impulse in women is not only of at
least equal moment, but it is far more obscure. The natural difficulties of the subject
have been increased by the assumption of most writers who have touched it—
casually and hurriedly, for the most part—that the only differences to be sought in
the sexual impulse in man and in woman are quantitative differenc es. I have pointed
out that we may more profitably seek for qualitative differences, and have
endeavored to indicate such of these differences as seem to be of significance.
In an Appendix will be found a selection of histories of more or less normal sexua l
development. Histories of gross sexual perversion have often been presented in
books devoted to the sexual instinct; it has not hitherto been usual to inquire into
the facts of normal sexual development. Yet it is concerning normal sexual
development that our ignorance is greatest, and the innovation can scarcely need
justification. I have inserted these histories not only because many of them are
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