Sexual Selection in Man by Havellock Ellis - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.


[13] Such an interpretation is supported by the arguments of W. McDougall ("The Theory of Laughter," _Nature_, February 5, 1903), who contends, without any reference to the sexual field, that one of the objects of laughter is automatically to "disperse our attention."

[14] Even the structure of the vaginal mucous membrane, it may be noted, is analogous to that of the skin. D. Berry Hart, "Note on the Development of the Clitoris, Vagina, and Hymen," _Transactions of the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society_, vol. xxi, 1896.

[15] W.H.B. Stoddart, "Anæsthesia in the Insane," _Journal of Mental Science_, October, 1899.

[16] Gina Lombroso, "Sur les Réflexes Cutanés," International Congress of Criminal Anthropology, Amsterdam, _Comptes Rendus_, p. 295.


The Secondary Sexual Skin Centres--Orificial Contacts--Cunnilingus and Fellatio--The Kiss--The Nipples--The Sympathy of the Breasts with the Primary Sexual Centres--This Connection Operative both through the Nerves and through the Blood--The Influence of Lactation on the Sexual Centres--Suckling and Sexual Emotion--The Significance of the Association between Suckling and Sexual Emotion--This Association as a Cause of Sexual Perversity.

We have seen that the skin generally has a high degree of sensibility, which frequently tends to be in more or less definite association with the sexual centres. We have seen also that the central and specific sexual sensation, the sexual embrace itself, is, in large measure, a specialized kind of skin reflex. Between the generalized skin sensations and the great primary sexual centre of sensation there are certain secondary sexual centres which, on account of their importance, may here be briefly considered.

These secondary centres have in common the fact that they always involve the entrances and the exits of the body--the regions, that is, where skin merges into mucous membrane, and where, in the course of evolution, tactile sensibility has become highly refined. It may, indeed, be said generally of these frontier regions of the body that their contact with the same or a similar frontier region in another person of opposite sex, under conditions otherwise favorable to tumescence, will tend to produce a minimum and even sometimes a maximum degree of sexual excitation. Contact of these regions with each other or with the sexual region itself so closely simulates the central sexual reflex that channels are set up for the same nervous energy and secondary sexual centres are constituted.

It is important to remember that the phenomena we are here concerned with are essentially normal. Many of them are commonly spoken of as perversions. In so far, however, as they are aids to tumescence they must be regarded as coming within the range of normal variation. They may be considered unæsthetic, but that is another matter. It has, moreover, to be remembered that æsthetic values are changed under the influence of sexual emotion; from the lover's point of view many things are beautiful which are unbeautiful from the point of view of him who is not a lover, and the greater the degree to which the lover is swayed by his passion the greater the extent to which his normal æsthetic standard is liable to be modified.

A broad consideration of the phenomena among civilized and uncivilized peoples amply suffices to show the fallacy of the tendency, so common among unscientific writers on these subjects, to introduce normal æsthetic standards into the sexual sphere. From the normal standpoint of ordinary daily life, indeed, the whole process of sex is unæsthetic, except the earlier stages of tumescence.[17]

So long as they constitute a part of the phase of tumescence, the utilization of the sexual excitations obtainable through these channels must be considered within the normal range of variation, as we may observe, indeed, among many animals. When, however, such contacts of the orifices of the body, other than those of the male and female sexual organs proper, are used to procure not merely tumescence, but detumescence, they become, in the strict and technical sense, perversions.

They are perversions in exactly the same sense as are the methods of intercourse which involve the use of checks to prevent fecundation. The æsthetic question, however, remains the same as if we were dealing with tumescence. It is necessary that this should be pointed out clearly, even at the risk of misapprehension, as confusions are here very common.

The essentially sexual character of the sensitivity of the orificial contacts is shown by the fact that it may sometimes be accidentally developed even in early childhood. This is well illustrated in a case recorded by Féré. A little girl of 4, of nervous temperament and liable to fits of anger in which she would roll on the ground and tear her clothes, once ran out into the garden in such a fit of temper and threw herself on the lawn in a half-naked condition. As she lay there two dogs with whom she was accustomed to play came up and began to lick the uncovered parts of the body. It so happened that as one dog licked her mouth the other licked her sexual parts. She experienced a shock of intense sensation which she could never forget and never describe, accompanied by a delicious tension of the sexual organs. She rose and ran away with a feeling of shame, though she could not comprehend what had happened. The impression thus made was so profound that it persisted throughout life and served as the point of departure of sexual perversions, while the contact of a dog's tongue with her mouth alone afterward sufficed to evoke sexual pleasure. (Féré, _Archives de Neurologie_, 1903, No. 90.)

I do not purpose to discuss here either _cunnilingus_ (the apposition of the mouth to the female pudendum) or _fellatio_

(the apposition of the mouth to the male organ), the agent in the former case being, in normal heterosexual relationships, a man, in the latter a woman; they are not purely tactile phenomena, but involve various other physical and psychic elements.

_Cunnilingus_ was a very familiar manifestation in classic times, as shown by frequent and mostly very contemptuous references in Aristophanes, Juvenal, and many other Greek and Roman writers; the Greeks regarded it as a Phoenician practice, just as it is now commonly considered French; it tends to be especially prevalent at all periods of high civilization. _Fellatio_ has also been equally well known, in both ancient and modern times, especially as practiced by inverted men. It may be accepted that both _cunnilingus_ and _fellatio_, as practiced by either sex, are liable to occur among healthy or morbid persons, in heterosexual or homosexual relationships. They have little psychological significance, except to the extent that when practiced to the exclusion of normal sexual relationships they become perversions, and as such tend to be associated with various degenerative conditions, although such associations are not invariable.

The essentially normal character of _cunnilingus_ and _fellatio_, when occurring as incidents in the process of tumescence, is shown by the fact that they are practiced by many animals. This is the case, for instance, among dogs. Moll points out that not infrequently the bitch, while under the dog, but before intromission, will change her position to lick the dog's penis--apparently from an instinctive impulse to heighten her own and his excitement--and then return to the normal position, while _cunnilingus_ is of constant occurrence among animals, and on account of its frequency among dogs was called by the Greeks skylax (Rosenbaum, _Geschichte der Lustseuche im Altertume_, fifth edition, pp. 260-278; also notes in Moll, _Untersuchungen über pie Libido Sexualis_, Bd. I, pp. 134, 369; and Bloch, _Beiträge zur Ætiologie der Psychopathia Sexualis_, Teil II, pp.

216 et seq.)

The occurrence of _cunnilingus_ as a sexual episode of tumescence among lower human races is well illustrated by a practice of the natives of the Caroline Islands (as recorded by Kubary in his ethnographic study of this people and quoted by Ploss and Bartels, _Das Weib_, vol. i). It is here customary for a man to place a piece of fish between the labia, while he stimulates the latter by his tongue and teeth until under stress of sexual excitement the woman urinates; this is regarded as an indication that the proper moment for intercourse has arrived. Such a practice rests on physiologically sound facts whatever may be thought of it from an æsthetic standpoint.

The contrast between the normal æsthetic standpoint in this matter and the lover's is well illustrated by the following quotations: Dr. A.B. Holder, in the course of his description of the American Indian _boté_, remarks, concerning _fellatio_: "Of all the many varieties of sexual perversion, this, it seems to me, is the most debased that could be conceived of." On the other hand, in a communication from a writer and scholar of high intellectual distinction occurs the statement: "I affirm that, of all sexual acts, _fellatio_ is most an affair of imagination and sympathy." It must be pointed out that there is no contradiction in these two statements, and that each is justified, according as we take the point of view of the ordinary onlooker or of the impassioned lover eager to give a final proof of his or her devotion. It must be added that from a scientific point of view we are not entitled to take either side.

Of the whole of this group of phenomena, the most typical and the most widespread example is certainly the kiss. We have in the lips a highly sensitive frontier region between skin and mucous membrane, in many respects analogous to the vulvo-vaginal orifice, and reinforcible, moreover, by the active movements of the still more highly sensitive tongue. Close and prolonged contact of these regions, therefore, under conditions favorable to tumescence sets up a powerful current of nervous stimulation. After those contacts in which the sexual regions themselves take a direct part, there is certainly no such channel for directing nervous force into the sexual sphere as the kiss. This is nowhere so well recognized as in France, where a young girl's lips are religiously kept for her lover, to such an extent, indeed, that young girls sometimes come to believe that the whole physical side of love is comprehended in a kiss on the mouth; so highly intelligent a woman as Madam Adam has described the agony she felt as a girl when kissed on the lips by a man, owing to the conviction that she had thereby lost her virtue. Although the lips occupy this highly important position as a secondary sexual focus in the sphere of touch, the kiss is--unlike _cunnilingus_ and _fellatio_--confined to man and, indeed, to a large extent, to civilized man. It is the outcome of a compound evolution which had its beginning outside the sphere of touch, and it would therefore be out of place to deal with the interesting question of its development in this place. It will be discussed elsewhere.[18]

There is yet another orificial frontier region which is a highly important tactile sexual focus: the nipple. The breasts raise, indeed, several interesting questions in their intimate connection with the sexual sphere and it may be worth while to consider them at this point.

The breasts have from the present point of view this special significance among the sexual centres that they primarily exist, not for the contact of the lover, but the contact of the child. This is doubtless, indeed, the fundamental fact on which all the touch contacts we are here concerned with have grown up. The sexual sensitivity of the lover's lips to orificial contacts has been developed from the sensitivity of the infant's lips to contact with his mother's nipple. It is on the ground of that evolution that we are bound to consider here the precise position of the breasts as a sexual centre.

As the great secreting organs of milk, the function of the breasts must begin immediately the child is cut off from the nutrition derived from direct contact with his mother's blood. It is therefore essential that the connection between the sexual organs proper, more especially the womb, and the breasts should be exceedingly intimate, so that the breasts may be in a condition to respond adequately to the demand of the child's sucking lips at the earliest moment after birth. As a matter of fact, this connection is very intimate, so intimate that it takes place in two totally distinct ways--by the nervous system and by the blood.

The breasts of young girls sometimes become tender at puberty in sympathy with the evolution of the sexual organs, although the swelling of the breasts at this period is not normally a glandular process. At the recurring periods of menstruation, again, sensations in the breasts are not uncommon.

It is not, however, until impregnation occurs that really decisive changes take place in the breasts. "As soon as the ovum is impregnated, that is to say within a few days," as W.D.A.

Griffith states it ("The Diagnosis of Pregnancy," _British Medical Journal_, April 11, 1903), "the changes begin to occur in the breast, changes which are just as well worked out as are the changes in the uterus and the vagina, which, from the commencement of pregnancy, prepare for the labor which ought to follow nine months afterward. These are changes in the direction of marked activity of function. An organ which was previously quite passive, without activity of circulation and the effects of active circulation, begins to grow and continues to grow in activity and size as pregnancy progresses."

The association between breasts and womb is so obvious that it has not escaped many savage peoples, who are often, indeed, excellent observers. Among one primitive people at least the activity of the breast at impregnation seems to be clearly recognized. The Sinangolo of British New Guinea, says Seligmann (_Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, July-December, 1902, p. 298) believe that conception takes place in the breasts; on this account they hold that coitus should never take place before the child is weaned or he might imbibe semen with the milk.

It is natural to assume that this connection between the activity of the womb and the glandular activity of the breasts is a nervous connection, by means of the spinal cord, and such a connection certainly exists and plays a very important part in the stimulating action of the breasts on the sexual organs. But that there is a more direct channel of communication even than the nervous system is shown by the fact that the secretion of milk will take place at parturition, even when the nervous connection has been destroyed. Mironoff found that, when the mammary gland is completely separated from the central nervous system, secretion, though slightly diminished, still continued.

In two goats he cut the nerves shortly before parturition and after birth the breasts still swelled and functioned normally (_Archives des Sciences Biologiques_, St. Petersburg, 1895, summarized in _L'Année Biologique_; 1895, p. 329). Ribbert, again, cut out the mammary gland of a young rabbit and transplanted it into the ear; five months after the rabbit bore young and the gland secreted milk freely. The case has been reported of a woman whose spinal cord was destroyed by an accident at the level of the fifth and sixth dorsal vertebræ, yet lactation was perfectly normal (_British Medical Journal_, August 5, 1899, p. 374). We are driven to suppose that there is some chemical change in the blood, some internal secretion from the uterus or the ovaries, which acts as a direct stimulant to the breasts. (See a comprehensive discussion of the phenomena of the connection between the breasts and sexual organs, though the conclusions are not unassailable, by Temesvary, _Journal of Obstetrics and Gynæcology of the British Empire_, June, 1903).

That this hypothetical secretion starts from the womb rather than the ovaries seems to be indicated by the fact that removal of both ovaries during pregnancy will not suffice to prevent lactation. In favor of the ovaries, see Beatson, _Lancet_, July, 1896; in favor of the uterus, Armand Routh, "On the Interaction between the Ovaries and the Mammary Glands," _British Medical Journal_, September 30, 1899.

While, however, the communications from the sexual organs to the breast are of a complex and at present ill understood character, the communication from the breasts to the sexual organs is without doubt mainly and chiefly nervous. When the child is put to the breast after birth the suction of the nipple causes a reflex contraction of the womb, and it is held by many, though not all, authorities that in a woman who does not suckle her child there is some risk that the womb will not return to its normal involuted size. It has also been asserted that to put a child to the breast during the early months of pregnancy causes so great a degree of uterine contraction that abortion may result.

Freund found in Germany that stimulation of the nipples by an electrical cupping apparatus brought about contraction of the pregnant uterus. At an earlier period it was recommended to irritate the nipple in order to excite the uterus to parturient action. Simpson, while pointing out that this was scarcely adequate to produce the effect desired, thought that placing a child to the breast after labor had begun might increase uterine action. (J.Y. Simpson, _Obstetric Memoirs_, vol. i, p. 836; also Féré, _L'Instinct Sexuel_, second edition, p. 132).

The influence of lactation over the womb in preventing the return of menstruation during its continuance is well known. According to Remfry's investigation of 900 cases in England, in 57 per cent. of cases there is no menstruation during lactation. (L.

Remfry, in paper read before Obstetrical Society of London, summarized in the _British Medical Journal_, January 11, 1896, p.

86). Bendix, in Germany, found among 140 cases that in about 40

per cent. there was no menstruation during lactation (paper read before Düsseldorf meeting of the Society of German Naturalists and Physicians, 1899). When the child is not suckled menstruation tends to reappear about six months after parturition.

It is possible that the divergent opinions of authorities concerning the necessarily favorable influence of lactation in promoting the return of the womb to its normal size may be due to a confusion of two distinct influences: the reflex action of the nipple on the womb and the effects of prolonged glandular secretion of the breasts in debilitated persons. The act of suckling undoubtedly tends to promote uterine contraction, and in healthy women during lactation the womb may even (according to Vineberg) be temporarily reduced to a smaller size than before impregnation, thus producing what is known as "lactation atrophy." In debilitated women, however, the strain of milk-production may lead to general lack of muscular tone, and involution of the womb thus be hindered rather than aided by lactation.

On the objective side, then, the nipple is to be regarded as an erectile organ, richly supplied with nerves and vessels, which, under the stimulation of the infant's lips--or any similar compression, and even under the influence of emotion or cold,--becomes firm and projects, mainly as a result of muscular contraction; for, unlike the penis and the clitoris, the nipple contains no true erectile tissue and little capacity for vascular engorgement.[19] We must then suppose that an impetus tends to be transmitted through the spinal cord to the sexual organs, setting up a greater or less degree of nervous and muscular excitement with uterine contraction. These being the objective manifestations, what manifestations are to be noted on the subjective side?

It is a remarkable proof of the general indifference with which in Europe even the fairly constant and prominent characteristics of the psychology of women have been treated until recent times that, so far as I am aware,--though I have made no special research to this end,--no one before the end of the eighteenth century had recorded the fact that the act of suckling tends to produce in women voluptuous sexual emotions. Cabanis in 1802, in the memoir on "Influence des Sexes" in his _Rapports du Physique et du Moral de l'Homme_, wrote that several suckling women had told him that the child in sucking the breast made them experience a vivid sensation of pleasure, shared in some degree by the sexual organs. There can be no doubt that in healthy suckling women this phenomenon is exceedingly common, though in the absence of any methodical and precise investigation it cannot be affirmed that it is experienced by every woman in some degree, and it is highly probable that this is not the case. One lady, perfectly normal, states that she has had stronger sexual feelings in suckling her children than she has ever experienced with her husband, but that so far as possible she has tried to repress them, as she regards them as brutish under these circumstances. Many other women state generally that suckling is the most delicious physical feeling they have ever experienced. In most cases, however, it does not appear to lead to a desire for intercourse, and some of those who make this statement have no desire for coitus during lactation, though they may have strong sexual needs at other times. It is probable that this corresponds to the normal condition, and that the voluptuous sensations aroused by suckling are adequately gratified by the child. It may be added that there are probably many women who could say, with a lady quoted by Féré,[20] that the only real pleasures of sex they have ever known are those derived from their suckling infants.

It is not difficult to see why this normal association of sexual emotion with suckling should have come about. It is essential for the preservation of the lives of young mammals that the mothers should have an adequate motive in pleasurable sensation for enduring the trouble of suckling. The most obvious method for obtaining the necessary degree of pleasurable sensation lay in utilizing the reservoir of sexual emotion, with which channels of communication might already be said to be open through the action of the sexual organs on the breasts during pregnancy. The voluptuous element in suckling may thus be called a merciful provision of Nature for securing the maintenance of the child.

Cabanis seems to have realized the significance of this connection as the basis of the sympathy between mother and child, and more recently Lombroso and Ferrero have remarked (_La Donna Delinquente_, p. 438) on the fact that maternal love has a sexual basis in the element of venereal pleasure, though usually inconsiderable, experienced during suckling. Houzeau has referred to the fact that in the majority of animals the relation between mother and offspring is only close during the period of lactation, and this is certainly connected with the fact that it is only during lactation that the female animal can derive physical gratification from her offspring. When living on a farm I have ascertained that cows sometimes, though not frequently, exhibit slight signs of sexual excitement, with secretion of mucus, while being milked; so that, as the dairymaid herself observed, it is as if they were being "bulled." The sow, like some other mammals, often eats her own young after birth, mistaking them, it is thought, for the placenta, which is normally eaten by most mammals; it is said that the sow never eats her young when they have once taken the teat.

It occasionally happens that this normal tendency for suckling to produce voluptuous sexual emotions is present in an extreme degree, and may lead to sexual perversions. It does not appear that the sexual sensations aroused by suckling usually culminate in the orgasm; this however, was noted in a case recorded by Féré, of a slightly neurotic woman in whom intense sexual excitement occurred during suckling, especially if prolonged; so far as possible, she shortened the periods of suckling in order to prevent, not always successfully, the occurrence of the orgasm (Féré, _Archives de Neurologie_ No. 30, 1903). Icard refers to the case of a woman who sought to become pregnant solely for the sake of the voluptuous sensations she derived from suckling, and Yellowlees (Art. "Masturbation," _Dictionary of Psychological Medicine_) speaks of the overwhelming character of "the storms of sexual feeling sometimes observed during lactation."

It may be remarked that the frequency of the association between lactation and the sexual sensations is indicated by the fact that, as Savage remarks, lactational insanity is often accompanied by fancies regarding the reproductive organs.

When we have realized the special sensitivity of the orificial regions and the peculiarly close relationships between the breasts and the sexual organs we may easily understand the considerable part which they normally play in the art of love. As one of the chief secondary sexual characters in women, and one of her chief beauties, a woman's breasts offer themselves to the lover's lips with a less intimate attraction than her mouth only because the mouth is better able to respond. On her side, such contact is often instinctively desired. Just as the sexual disturbance of pregnancy is accompanied by a sympathetic disturbance in the breasts, so the sexual excitement produced by the lover's proximity reacts on the breasts; the nipple becomes turgid and erect in sympathy with the clitoris; the woman craves to place her lover in the place of the child, and experiences a sensation in which these two supreme objects of her desire are deliciously mingled.

The powerful effect which stimulation of the nipple produces on the sexual sphere has led to the breasts playing a prominent part in the erotic art of those lands in which this art has been most carefully cultivated. Thus in India, according to Vatsyayana, many authors are of the opinion that in approaching a woman a lover should begin by sucking the nipples of her breasts, and in the songs of the Bayaderes of Southern India sucking the nipple is mentioned as one of the natural preliminaries of coitus.

In some cases, and more especially in neurotic persons, the sexual pleasure derived from manipulation of the nipple passes normal limits and, being preferred even to coitus, becomes a perversion. In girls' schools, it is said, especially in France, sucking and titillation of the breasts are not uncommon; in men, also, titillation of the nipples occasionally produces sexual sensations (Féré, _L'Instinct Sexuel_, second edition, p. 132).

Hildebrandt recorded the case of a young woman whose nipples had been sucked by her lover; by constantly drawing her breasts she became able to suck them herself and thus attained extreme sexual pleasure. A.J. Bloch, of New Orleans, has noted the case of a woman who complained of swelling of the breasts; the gentlest manipulation produced an orgasm, and it was found that the swelling had been intentionally produced for the sake of this manipulation. Moraglia in Italy knew a very beautiful woman who was perfectly cold in normal sexual relationships, but madly excited when her husband pressed or sucked her breasts. Lombroso (_Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1885, fasc. IV) has described the somewhat similar case of a woman who had no sexual sensitivity in the clitoris, vagina, or labia, and no pleasure in coitus except in very strange positions, but possessed intense sexual feelings in the right nipple as well as in the upper third of the thigh.

It is remarkable that not only is suckling apt to be accompanied by sexual pleasure in the mother, but that, in some cases, the infant also appears to have a somewhat similar experience. This is, at all events, indicated in a remarkable case recorded by Féré (_L'Instinct Sexuel_, second edition, p. 257). A female infant child of slightly neurotic heredity was weaned at the age of 14 months, but so great was her affection for her mother's breasts, though she had already become accustomed to other food, that this was only accomplished with great difficulty and by allowing her still to caress the naked breasts several times a day. This went on for many months, when the mother, becoming again pregnant, insisted on putting an end to it. So jealous was the child, however, that it was necessary to conceal from her the fact that her younger sister was suckled at her mother's breasts, and once at the age of 3, when she saw her father aiding her mother to undress, she became violently jealous of him. This jealousy, as well as the passion for her mother's breasts, persisted to the age of puberty, though she learned to conceal it. At the age of 13, when menstruation began, she noticed in dancing with her favorite girl friends that when her breasts came in contact with theirs she experienced a very agreeable sensation, with erection of the nipples; but it was not till the age of 16 that she observed that the sexual region took part in this excitement and became moist. From this period she had erotic dreams about young girls. She never experienced any attraction for young men, but eventually married; though having much esteem and affection for her husband, she never felt any but the slightest sexual enjoyment in his arms, and then only by evoking feminine images. This case, in which the sensations of an infant at the breast formed the point of departure of a sexual perversion which lasted through life, is, so far as I am aware, unique.


[17] Jonas Cohn (_Allgemeine Æsthetik_, 1901, p. 11) lays it down that psychology has nothing to do with good or bad taste. "The distinction between good and bad taste has no meaning for psychology. On this account, the fundamental conceptions of æsthetics cannot arise from psychology." It may be a question whether this view can be accepted quite absolutely.

[18] See Appendix A: "The Origins of the Kiss."

[19] See J.B. Hellier, "On the Nipple Reflex," _British Medical Journal_, November 7, 1896.

[20] Féré, _L'Instinct Sexuel_, second edition, p. 147.


The Bath--Antagonism of Primitive Christianity to the Cult of the Skin--Its Cult of Personal Filth--The Reasons which Justified this Attitude--The World-wide Tendency to Association between Extreme Cleanliness and Sexual Licentiousness--The Immorality Associated with Public Baths in Europe down to Modern Times.

The hygiene of the skin, as well as its special cult, consists in bathing.

The bath, as is well known, attained under the Romans a degree of development which, in Europe at all events, it has never reached before or since, and the modern visitor to Rome carries away with him no more impressive memory than that of the Baths of Caracalla. Since the coming of Christianity the cult of the skin, and even its hygiene, have never again attained the same general and unquestioned exaltation. The Church killed the bath. St. Jerome tells us with approval that when the holy Paula noted that any of her nuns were too careful in this matter she would gravely reprove them, saying that "the purity of the body and its garments means the impurity of the soul."[21] Or, as the modern monk of Mount Athos still declares: "A man should live in dirt as in a coat of mail, so that his soul may sojourn more securely within."

Our knowledge of the bathing arrangements of Roman days is chiefly derived from Pompeii. Three public baths (two for both men and women, who were also probably allowed to use the third occasionally) have so far been excavated in this small town, as well as at least three private bathing establishments (at least one of them for women), while about a dozen houses contain complete baths for private use. Even in a little farm house at Boscoreale (two miles out of Pompeii) there was an elaborate series of bathing rooms. It may be added that Pompeii was well supplied with water. All houses but the poorest had flowing jets, and some houses had as many as ten jets. (See Man's _Pompeii_, Chapters XXVI-XXVIII.)

The Church succeeded to the domination of imperial Rome, and adopted many of the methods of its predecessor. But there could be no greater contrast than is presented by the attitude of Paganism and of Christianity toward the bath.

As regards the tendencies of the public baths in imperial Rome, some of the evidence is brought together in the section on this subject in Rosenbaum's _Geschichte der Lustseuche im Alterthume_.

As regards the attitude of the earliest Christian ascetics in this matter I may refer the reader to an interesting passage in Lecky's _History of European Morals_ (vol. ii, pp. 107-112), in which are brought together a number of highly instructive examples of the manner in which many of the most eminent of the early saints deliberately cultivated personal filth.

In the middle ages, when the extreme excesses of the early ascetics had died out, and monasticiam became regulated, monks generally took two baths a year when in health; in illness they could be taken as often as necessary. The rules of Cluny only allowed three towels to the community: one for the novices, one for the professed, and one for the lay brothers. At the end of the seventeenth century Madame de Mazarin, having retired to a convent of Visitandines, one day desired to wash her feet, but the whole establishment was set in an uproar at such an idea, and she received a direct refusal. In 1760 the Dominican Richard wrote that in itself the bath is permissible, but it must be taken solely for necessity, not for pleasure. The Church taught, and this lesson is still inculcated in convent schools, that it is wrong to expose the body even to one's own gaze, and it is not surprising that many holy persons boasted that they had never even washed their hands. (Most of these facts have been taken from A. Franklin, _Les Soins de Toilette_, one of the _Vie Privée d'Autrefois_ series, in which further details may be found.) In sixteenth-century Italy, a land of supreme elegance and fashion, superior even to France, the conditions were the same, and how little water found favor even with aristocratic ladies we may gather from the contemporary books on the toilet, which abound with recipes against itch and similar diseases. It should be added that Burckhardt (_Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien_, eighth edition, volume ii, p. 92) considers that in spite of skin diseases the Italians of the Renaissance were the first nation in Europe for cleanliness.

It is unnecessary to consider the state of things in other European countries. The aristocratic conditions of former days are the plebeian conditions of to-day. So far as England is concerned, such documents as Chadwick's _Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Laboring Population of Great Britain_ (1842) sufficiently illustrate the ideas and the practices as regards personal cleanliness which prevailed among the masses during the nineteenth century and which to a large extent still prevail.

A considerable amount of opprobrium has been cast upon the Catholic Church for its direct and indirect influence in promoting bodily uncleanliness.

Nietzsche sarcastically refers to the facts, and Mr. Frederick Harrison asserts that "the tone of the middle ages in the matter of dirt was a form of mental disease." It would be easy to quote many other authors to the same effect.

It is necessary to point out, however, that the writers who have committed themselves to such utterances have not only done an injustice to Christianity, but have shown a lack of historical insight. Christianity was essentially and fundamentally a rebellion against the classic world, against its vices, and against their concomitant virtues, against both its practices and its ideals. It sprang up in a different part of the Mediterranean basin, from a different level of culture; it found its supporters in a new and lower social stratum. The cult of charity, simplicity, and faith, while not primarily ascetic, became inevitably allied with asceticism, because from its point of view: sexuality was the very stronghold of the classic world. In the second century the genius of Clement of Alexandria and of the great Christian thinkers who followed him seized on all those elements in classic life and philosophy which could be amalgamated with Christianity without, as they trusted, destroying its essence, but in the matter of sexuality there could be no compromise, and the condemnation of sexuality involved the condemnation of the bath. It required very little insight and sagacity for the Christians to see--though we are now apt to slur over the fact--that the cult of the bath was in very truth the cult of the flesh.[22] However profound their ignorance of anatomy, physiology, and psychology might be, they had before them ample evidence to show that the skin is an outlying sexual zone and that every application which promoted the purity, brilliance, and healthfulness of the skin constituted a direct appeal, feeble or strong as the case might be, to those passions against which they were warring. The moral was evident: better let the temporary garment of your flesh be soaked with dirt than risk staining the radiant purity of your immortal soul. If Christianity had not drawn that moral with clear insight and relentless logic Christianity would never have been a great force in the world.

If any doubt is felt as to the really essential character of the connection between cleanliness and the sexual impulse it may be dispelled by the consideration that the association is by no means confined to Christian Europe. If we go outside Europe and even Christendom altogether, to the other side of the world, we find it still well marked. The wantonness of the luxurious people of Tahiti when first discovered by European voyagers is notorious. The Areoi of Tahiti, a society largely constituted on a basis of debauchery, is a unique institution so far as primitive peoples are concerned. Cook, after giving one of the earliest descriptions of this society and its objects at Tahiti (Hawkesworth, _An Account of Voyages_, etc., 1775, vol. ii, p.

55), immediately goes on to describe the extreme and scrupulous cleanliness of the people of Tahiti in every respect; they not only bathed their bodies and clothes every day, but in all respects they carried cleanliness to a higher point than even

"the politest assembly in Europe." Another traveler bears similar testimony: "The inhabitants of the Society Isles are, among all the nations of the South Seas, the most cleanly; and the better sort of them carry cleanliness to a very great length"; they bathe morning and evening in the sea, he remarks, and afterward in fresh water to remove the particles of salt, wash their hands before and after meals, etc. (J.R. Forster, "_Observations made during a Voyage round the World_," 1798, p. 398.) And William Ellis, in his detailed description of the people of Tahiti (_Polynesian Researches_, 1832, vol. i, especially Chapters VI and IX), while emphasizing their extreme cleanliness, every person of every class bathing at least once or twice a day, dwells on what he considers their unspeakable moral debasement;

"notwithstanding the apparent mildness of their disposition and the cheerful vivacity of their conversation, no portion of the human race was ever perhaps sunk lower in brutal licentiousness and moral degradation."

After leaving Tahiti Cook went on to New Zealand. Here he found that the people were more virtuous than at Tahiti, and also, he found, less clean.

It is, however, a mistake to suppose that physical uncleanliness ruled supreme through mediæval and later times. It is true that the eighteenth century, which saw the birth of so much that marks our modern world, witnessed a revival of the old ideal of bodily purity. But the struggle between two opposing ideals had been carried on for a thousand years or more before this. The Church, indeed, was in this matter founded on an impregnable rock. But there never has been a time when influences outside the Church have not found a shelter somewhere. Those traditions of the classic world which Christianity threw aside as useless or worse quietly reappeared. In no respect was this more notably the case than in regard to the love of pure water and the cult of the bath. Islam adopted the complete Roman bath, and made it an institution of daily life, a necessity for all classes. Granada is the spot in Europe where to-day we find the most exquisite remains of Mohammedan culture, and, though the fury of Christian conquest dragged the harrow over the soil of Granada, even yet streams and fountains spring up there and gush abundantly and one seldom loses the sound of the plash of water. The flower of Christian chivalry and Christian intelligence went to Palestine to wrest the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of pagan Mohammedans. They found there many excellent things which they had not gone out to seek, and the Crusaders produced a kind of premature and abortive Renaissance, the shadow of lost classic things reflected on Christian Europe from the mirror of Islam.

Yet it is worth while to point out, as bearing on the associations of the bath here emphasized, that even in Islam we may trace the existence of a religious attitude unfavorable to the bath. Before the time of Mohammed there were no public baths in Arabia, and it was and is believed that baths are specially haunted by the djinn--the evil spirits. Mohammed himself was at first so prejudiced against public baths that he forbade both men and women to enter them. Afterward, however, he permitted men to use them provided they wore a cloth round the loins, and women also when they could not conveniently bathe at home. Among the Prophet's sayings is found the assertion: "Whatever woman enters a bath the devil is with her," and "All the earth is given to me as a place of prayer, and as pure, except the burial ground and the bath." (See, e.g., E.W. Lane, _Arabian Society in the Middle Ages_, 1883, pp. 179-183.) Although, therefore, the bath, or _hammam_, on grounds of ritual ablution, hygiene, and enjoyment speedily became universally popular in Islam among all classes and both sexes, Mohammed himself may be said to have opposed it.

Among the discoveries which the Crusaders made and brought home with them one of the most notable was that of the bath, which in its more elaborate forms seems to have been absolutely forgotten in Europe, though Roman baths might everywhere have been found underground. All authorities seem to be agreed in finding here the origin of the revival of the public bath.

It is to Rome first, and later to Islam, the lineal inheritor of classic culture, that we owe the cult of water and of physical purity. Even to-day the Turkish bath, which is the most popular of elaborate methods of bathing, recalls by its characteristics and its name the fact that it is a Mohammedan survival of Roman life.

From the twelfth century onward baths have repeatedly been introduced from the East, and reintroduced afresh in slightly modified forms, and have flourished with varying degrees of success. In the thirteenth century they were very common, especially in Paris, and though they were often used, more especially in Germany, by both sexes in common, every effort was made to keep them orderly and respectable. These efforts were, however, always unsuccessful in the end. A bath always tended in the end to become a brothel, and hence either became unfashionable or was suppressed by the authorities. It is sufficient to refer to the reputation in England of

"hot-houses" and "bagnios." It was not until toward the end of the eighteenth century that it began to be recognized that the claims of physical cleanliness were sufficiently imperative to make it necessary that the fairly avoidable risks to morality in bathing should be avoided and the unavoidable risks bravely incurred. At the present day, now that we are accustomed to weave ingeniously together in the texture of our lives the conflicting traditions of classic and Christian days, we have almost persuaded ourselves that the pagan virtue of cleanliness comes next after godliness, and we bathe, forgetful of the great moral struggle which once went on around the bath. But we refrain from building ourselves palaces to bathe in, and for the most part we bathe with exceeding moderation.[23] It is probable that we may best harmonize our conflicting traditions by rejecting not only the Christian glorification of dirt, but also, save for definitely therapeutic purposes, the excessive heat, friction, and stimulation involved by the classic forms of bathing. Our reasonable ideal should render it easy and natural for every man, woman, and child to have a simple bath, tepid in winter, cold in summer, all the year round.

For the history of the bath in mediæval times and later Europe, see A. Franklin, _Les Soins de Toilette_, in the _Vie Privée d'Autrefois_ series; Rudeck, _Geschichte der öffentlichen Sittlichkeit in Deutschland_; T. Wright, _The Homes of Other Days_; E. Dühren, _Das Geschlechtsleben in England_, bd. 1.

Outside the Church, there was a greater amount of cleanliness than we are sometimes apt to suppose. It may, indeed, be said that the uncleanliness of holy men and women would have attracted no attention if it had corresponded to the condition generally prevailing. Before public baths were established bathing in private was certainly practiced; thus Ordericus Vitalis, in narrating the murder of Mabel, the Countess de Montgomery, in Normandy in 1082, casually mentions that she was lying on the bed after her bath (_Ecclesiastical History_, Book V, Chapter XIII).

In warm weather, it would appear, mediæval ladies bathed in streams, as we may still see countrywomen do in Russia, Bohemia, and occasionally nearer home. The statement of the historian Michelet, therefore, that Percival, Iseult, and the other ethereal personages of mediæval times "certainly never washed"

(_La Sorcière_, p. 110) requires some qualification.

In 1292 there were twenty-six bathing establishments in Paris, and an attendant would go through the streets in the morning announcing that they were ready. One could have a vapor bath only or a hot bath to succeed it, as in the East. No woman of bad reputation, leper, or vagabond was at this time allowed to frequent the baths, which were closed on Sundays and feast-days.

By the fourteenth century, however, the baths began to have a reputation for immorality, as well as luxury, and, according to Dufour, the baths of Paris "rivaled those of imperial Rome: love, prostitution, and debauchery attracted the majority to the bathing establishments, where everything was covered by a decent veil." He adds that, notwithstanding the scandal thus caused and the invectives of preachers, all went to the baths, young and old, rich and poor, and he makes the statement, which seems to echo the constant assertion of the early Fathers, that "a woman who frequented the baths returned home physically pure only at the expense of her moral purity."

In Germany there was even greater freedom of manners in bathing, though, it would seem, less real licentiousness. Even the smallest towns had their baths, which were frequented by all classes. As soon as the horn blew to announce that the baths were ready all hastened along the street, the poorer folk almost completely undressing themselves before leaving their homes.

Bathing was nearly always in common without any garment being worn, women attendants commonly rubbed and massaged both sexes, and the dressing room was frequently used by men and women in common; this led to obvious evils. The Germans, as Weinhold points out (_Die Deutschen Frauen im Mittelalter_, 1882, bd. ii, pp. 112 et seq.), have been fond of bathing in the open air in streams from the days of Tacitus and Cæsar until comparatively modern times, when the police have interfered. It was the same in Switzerland. Poggio, early in the sixteenth century, found it the custom for men and women to bathe together at Baden, and said that he seemed to be assisting at the _floralia_ of ancient Rome, or in Plato's Republic. Sénancour, who quotes the passage (_De l'Amour_, 1834, vol. i, p. 313), remarks that at the beginning of the nineteenth century there was still great liberty at the Baden baths.

Of the thirteenth century in England Thomas Wright (_Homes of Other Days_, 1871, p. 271) remarks: "The practice of warm bathing prevailed very generally in all classes of society, and is frequently alluded to in the mediæval romances and stories. For this purpose a large bathing-tub was used. People sometimes bathed immediately after rising in the morning, and we find the bath used after dinner and before going to bed. A bath was also often prepared for a visitor on his arrival from a journey; and, what seems still more singular, in the numerous stories of amorous intrigues the two lovers usually began their interviews by bathing together."

In England the association between bathing and immorality was established with special rapidity and thoroughness. Baths were here officially recognized as brothels, and this as early as the twelfth century, under Henry II. These organized bath-brothels were confined to Southwark, outside the walls of the city, a quarter which was also given up to various sports and amusements.

At a later period, "hot-houses," bagnios, and hummums (the eastern _hammam_) were spread all over London and remained closely identified with prostitution, these names, indeed, constantly tending to become synonymous with brothels. (T.

Wright, _Homes of Other Days_, 1871, pp. 494-496, gives an account of them.)

In France the baths, being anathematized by both Catholics and Huguenots, began to lose vogue and disappear. "Morality gained,"

remarks Franklin, "but cleanliness lost." Even the charming and elegant Margaret of Navarre found it quite natural for a lady to mention incidentally to her lover that she had not washed her hands for a week. Then began an extreme tendency to use cosmetics, essences, perfumes, and a fierce war with vermin, up to the seventeenth century, when some progress was made, and persons who desired to be very elegant and refined were recommended to wash their faces "nearly every day." Even in 1782, however, while a linen cloth was advised for the purpose of cleaning the face and hands, the use of water was still somewhat discountenanced. The use of hot and cold baths was now, however, beginning to be established in Paris and elsewhere, and the bathing establishments at the great European health resorts were also beginning to be put on the orderly footing which is now customary. When Casanova, in the middle of the eighteenth century, went to the public baths at Berne he was evidently somewhat surprised when he found that he was invited to choose his own attendant from a number of young women, and when he realized that these attendants were, in all respects, at the disposition of the bathers. It is evident that establishments of this kind were then already dying out, although it may be added that the customs described by Casanova appear to have persisted in Budapest and St. Petersburg almost or quite up to the present.

The great European public baths have long been above suspicion in this respect (though homosexual practices are not quite excluded), while it is well recognized that many kinds of hot baths now in use produce a powerfully stimulating action upon the sexual system, and patients taking such baths for medical purposes are frequently warned against giving way to these influences.

The struggle which in former ages went on around bathing establishments has now been in part transferred to massage establishments. Massage is an equally powerful stimulant to the skin and the sexual sphere,--acting mainly by friction instead of mainly by heat,--and it has not yet attained that position of general recognition and popularity which, in the case of bathing establishments, renders it bad policy to court disrepute.

Like bathing, massage is a hygienic and therapeutic method of influencing the skin and subjacent tissues which, together with its advantages, has certain concomitant disadvantages in its liability to affect the sexual sphere. This influence is apt to be experienced by individuals of both sexes, though it is perhaps specially marked in women. Jouin (quoted in Paris _Journal de Médecine_, April 23, 1893) found that of 20 women treated by massage, of whom he made inquiries, 14 declared that they experienced voluptuous sensations; 8 of these belonged to respectable families; the other 6 were women of the _demimonde_

and gave precise details; Jouin refers in this connection to the _aliptes_ of Rome. It is unnecessary to add that the gynæcological massage introduced in recent years by the Swedish teacher of gymnastics, Thure-Brandt, as involving prolonged rubbing and kneading of the pelvic regions, "_pression glissante du vagin_" etc. (_Massage Gynécologique_, by G. de Frumerie, 1897), whatever its therapeutic value, cannot fail in a large proportion of cases to stimulate the sexual emotions. (Eulenburg remarks that for sexual anæsthesia in women the Thure-Brandt system of massage may "naturally" be recommended, _Sexuale Neuropathie_, p. 78.) I have been informed that in London and elsewhere massage establishments are sometimes visited by women who seek sexual gratification by massage of the genital regions by the _masseuse_.


[21] "_Dicens munditiam corporis atque vestitus animæ esse immunditiam_"--St. Jerome, _Ad Eustochium Virginem_.

[22] With regard to the physiological mechanism by which bathing produces its tonic and stimulating effects Woods Hutchinson has an interesting discussion (Chapter VII) in his _Studies in Human and Comparative Pathology_.

[23] Thus among the young women admitted to the Chicago Normal School to be trained as teachers, Miss Lura Sanborn, the director of physical training, states (_Doctor's Magazine_, December, 1900) that a bath once a fortnight is found to be not unusual.


Summary--Fundamental Importance of Touch--The Skin the Mother of All the Other Senses.

The sense of touch is so universally diffused over the whole skin, and in so many various degrees and modifications, and it is, moreover, so truly the Alpha and the Omega of affection, that a broken and fragmentary treatment of the subject has been inevitable.

The skin is the archæological field of human and prehuman experience, the foundation on which all forms of sensory perception have grown up, and as sexual sensibility is among the most ancient of all forms of sensibility, the sexual instinct is necessarily, in the main, a comparatively slightly modified form of general touch sensibility. This primitive character of the great region of tactile sensation, its vagueness and diffusion, the comparatively unintellectual as well as unæsthetic nature of the mental conceptions which arise on the tactile basis make it difficult to deal precisely with the psychology of touch. The very same qualities, however, serve greatly to heighten the emotional intensity of skin sensations. So that, of all the great sensory fields, the field of touch is at once the least intellectual and the most massively emotional. These qualities, as well as its intimate and primitive association with the apparatus of tumescence and detumescence, make touch the readiest and most powerful channel by which the sexual sphere may be reached.

In disentangling the phenomena of tactile sensibility ticklishness has been selected for special consideration as a kind of sensation, founded on reflexes developing even before birth, which is very closely related to sexual phenomena. It is, as it were, a play of tumescence, on which laughter supervenes as a play of detumescence. It leads on to the more serious phenomena of tumescence, and it tends to die out after adolescence, at the period during which sexual relationships normally begin. Such a view of ticklishness, as a kind of modesty of the skin, existing merely to be destroyed, need only be regarded as one of its aspects. Ticklishness certainly arose from a non-sexual starting-point, and may well have protective uses in the young animal.

The readiness with which tactile sensibility takes on a sexual character and forms reflex channels of communication with the sexual sphere proper is illustrated by the existence of certain secondary sexual foci only inferior in sexual excitability to the genital region. We have seen that the chief of these normal foci are situated in the orificial regions where skin and mucous membrane meet, and that the contact of any two orificial regions between two persons of different sex brought together under favorable conditions is apt, when prolonged, to produce a very intense degree of sexual erethism. This is a normal phenomenon in so far as it is a part of tumescence, and not a method of obtaining detumescence. The kiss is a typical example of these contacts, while the nipple is of special interest in this connection, because we are thereby enabled to bring the psychology of lactation into intimate relationship with the psychology of sexual love.

The extreme sensitiveness of the skin, the readiness with which its stimulation reverberates into the sexual sphere, clearly brought out by the present study, enable us to understand better a very ancient contest--the moral struggle around the bath. There has always been a tendency for the extreme cultivation of physical purity to lead on to the excessive stimulation of the sexual sphere; so that the Christian ascetics were entirely justified, on their premises, in fighting against the bath and in directly or indirectly fostering a cult of physical uncleanliness.

While, however, in the past there has clearly been a general tendency for the cult of physical purity to be associated with moral licentiousness, and there are sufficient grounds for such an association, it is important to remember that it is not an inevitable and fatal association; a scrupulously clean person is by no means necessarily impelled to licentiousness; a physically unclean person is by no means necessarily morally pure. When we have eliminated certain forms of the bath which must be regarded as luxuries rather than hygienic necessities, though they occasionally possess therapeutic virtues, we have eliminated the most violent appeals of the bath to the sexual impulse. So imperative are the demands of physical purity now becoming, in general opinion, that such small risks to moral purity as may still remain are constantly and wisely disregarded, and the immoral traditions of the bath now, for the most part, belong to the past.



The Primitiveness of Smell--The Anatomical Seat of the Olfactory Centres--Predominance of Smell among the Lower Mammals--Its Diminished Importance in Man--The Attention Paid to Odors by Savages.

The first more highly organized sense to arise on the diffused tactile sensitivity of the skin is, in most cases, without doubt that of smell. At first, indeed, olfactory sensibility is not clearly differentiated from general tactile sensibility; the pit of thickened and ciliated epithelium or the highly mobile antennæ which in many lower animals are sensitive to odorous stimuli are also extremely sensitive to tactile stimuli; this is, for instance, the case with the snail, in whom at the same time olfactive sensibility seems to be spread over the whole body.[24] The sense of smell is gradually specialized, and when taste also begins to develop a kind of chemical sense is constituted. The organ of smell, however, speedily begins to rise in importance as we ascend the zoölogical scale. In the lower vertebrates, when they began to adopt a life on dry land, the sense of smell seems to have been that part of their sensory equipment which proved most useful under the new conditions, and it developed with astonishing rapidity. Edinger finds that in the brain of reptiles the

"area olfactoria" is of enormous extent, covering, indeed, the greater part of the cortex, though it may be quite true, as Herrick remarks, that, while smell is preponderant, it is perhaps not correct to attribute an exclusively olfactory tone to the cerebral activities of the _Sauropsida_

or even the _Ichthyopsida_. Among most mammals, however, in any case, smell is certainly the most highly developed of the senses; it gives the first information of remote objects that concern them; it gives the most precise information concerning the near objects that concern them; it is the sense in terms of which most of their mental operations must be conducted and their emotional impulses reach consciousness. Among the apes it has greatly lost importance and in man it has become almost rudimentary, giving place to the supremacy of vision.

Prof. G. Elliot Smith, a leading authority on the brain, has well summarized the facts concerning the predominance of the olfactory region in the mammal brain, and his conclusions may be quoted. It should be premised that Elliot Smith divides the brain into rhinencephalon and neopallium. Rhinencephalon designates the regions which are pre-eminently olfactory in function: the olfactory bulb, its peduncle, the tuberculum olfactorium and locus perforatus, the pyriform lobe, the paraterminal body, and the whole hippocampal formation. The neopallium is the dorsal cap of the brain, with frontal, parietal, and occipital areas, comprehending all that part of the brain which is the seat of the higher associative activities, reaching its fullest development in man.

"In the early mammals the olfactory areas form by far the greater part of the cerebral hemisphere, which is not surprising when it is recalled that the forebrain is, in the primitive brain, essentially an appendage, so to speak, of the smell apparatus.

When the cerebral hemisphere comes to occupy such a dominant position in the brain it is perhaps not unnatural to find that the sense of smell is the most influential and the chief source of information to the animal; or, perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that the olfactory sense, which conveys general information to the animal such as no other sense can bring concerning its prey (whether near or far, hidden or exposed), is much the most serviceable of all the avenues of information to the lowly mammal leading a terrestrial life, and therefore becomes predominant; and its particular domain--the forebrain--becomes the ruling portion of the nervous system.

"This early predominance of the sense of smell persists in most mammals (unless an aquatic mode of life interferes and deposes it: compare the _Cetacea, Sirenia_, and _Pinnipedia_, for example) even though a large neopallium develops to receive visual, auditory, tactile, and other impressions pouring into the forebrain. In the _Anthropoidea_ alone of nonaquatic mammals the olfactory regions undergo an absolute (and not only relative, as in the _Carnivora_ and _Ungulata_) dwindling, which is equally shared by the human brain, in common with those of the other _Simiidæ_, the _Cercopithecidæ_, and the _Cebidæ_. But all the parts of the rhinencephalon, which are so distinct in macrosmatic mammals, can also be recognized in the human brain. The small ellipsoidal olfactory bulb is moored, so to speak, on the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone by the olfactory nerves; so that, as the place of attachment of the olfactory peduncle to the expanding cerebral hemisphere becomes removed (as a result of the forward extension of the hemisphere) progressively farther and farther backward, the peduncle becomes greatly stretched and elongated. And, as this stretching involves the gray matter without lessening the number of nerve-fibres in the olfactory tract, the peduncle becomes practically what it is usually called--i.e., the olfactory 'tract.' The tuberculum olfactorium becomes greatly reduced and at the same time flattened; so that it is not easy to draw a line of demarcation between it and the anterior perforated space. The anterior rhinal fissure, which is present in the early human foetus, vanishes (almost, if not altogether) in the adult. Part of the posterior rhinal fissure is always present in the 'incisura temporalis,' and sometimes, especially in some of the non-European races, the whole of the posterior rhinal fissure is retained in that typical form which we find in the anthropoid apes." (G. Elliot Smith, in _Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Physiological Series of Comparative Anatomy Contained in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England_, second edition, vol. ii.) A full statement of Elliot Smith's investigations, with diagrams, is given by Bullen, _Journal of Mental Science_, July, 1899. It may be added that the whole subject of the olfactory centres has been thoroughly studied by Elliot Smith, as well as by Edinger, Mayer, and C.L. Herrick. In the _Journal of Comparative Neurology_, edited by the last named, numerous discussions and summaries bearing on the subject will be found from 1896 onward.

Regarding the primitive sense-organs of smell in the various invertebrate groups some information will be found in A.B.

Griffiths's _Physiology of the Invertebrata_, Chapter XI.

The predominance of the olfactory area in the nervous system of the vertebrates generally has inevitably involved intimate psychic associations between olfactory stimuli and the sexual impulse. For most mammals not only are all sexual associations mainly olfactory, but the impressions received by this sense suffice to dominate all others. An animal not only receives adequate sexual excitement from olfactory stimuli, but those stimuli often suffice to counterbalance all the evidence of the other senses.

We may observe this very well in the case of the dog. Thus, a young dog, well known to me, who had never had connection with a bitch, but was always in the society of its father, once met the latter directly after the elder dog had been with a bitch. He immediately endeavored to behave toward the elder dog, in spite of angry repulses, exactly as a dog behaves toward a bitch in heat. The messages received by the sense of smell were sufficiently urgent not only to set the sexual mechanism in action, but to overcome the experiences of a lifetime. There is an interesting chapter on the sense of smell in the mental life of the dog in Giessler's _Psychologie des Geruches_, 1894, Chapter XI, Passy (in the appendix to his memoir on olfaction, _L'Année Psychologique_, 1895) gives the result of some interesting experiments as to the effects of perfume on dogs; civet and castoreum were found to have the most powerfully exciting effect.

The influences of smell are equally omnipotent in the sexual life of many insects. Thus, Féré has found that in cockchafers sexual coupling failed to take place when the antennæ, which are the organs of smell, were removed; he also found that males, after they had coupled with females, proved sexually attractive to other males (_Comptes Rendus de la Société de Biologie_, May 21, 1898). Féré similarly found that, in a species of _Bombyx_, males after contact with females sometimes proved attractive to other males, although no abnormal relationships followed. (_Soc. de Biol_, July 30, 1898.)

With the advent of the higher apes, and especially of man, all this has been changed. The sense of smell, indeed, still persists universally and it is still also exceedingly delicate, though often neglected.[25] It is, moreover, a useful auxiliary in the exploration of the external world, for, in contrast to the very few sensations furnished to us by touch and by taste, we are acquainted with a vast number of smells, though the information they give us is frequently vague. An experienced perfumer, says Piesse, will have two hundred odors in his laboratory and can distinguish them all. To a sensitive nose nearly everything smells. Passy goes so far as to state that he has "never met with any object that is really inodorous when one pays attention to it, not even excepting glass,"

and, though we can scarcely accept this statement absolutely,--especially in view of the careful experiments of Ayrton, which show that, contrary to a common belief, metals when perfectly clean and free from traces of contact with the skin or with salt solutions have no smell,--odor is still extremely widely diffused. This is especially the case in hot countries, and the experiments of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition on the sense of smell of the Papuans were considerably impeded by the fact that at Torres Straits everything, even water, seemed to have a smell. Savages are often accused more or less justly of indifference to bad odors. They are very often, however, keenly alive to the significance of smells and their varieties, though it does not appear that the sense of smell is notably more developed in savage than in civilized peoples. Odors also continue to play a part in the emotional life of man, more especially in hot countries. Nevertheless both in practical life and in emotional life, in science and in art, smell is, at the best, under normal conditions, merely an auxiliary. If the sense of smell were abolished altogether the life of mankind would continue as before, with little or no sensible modification, though the pleasures of life, and especially of eating and drinking, would be to some extent diminished.

In New Ireland, Duffield remarks (_Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, 1886, p. 118), the natives have a very keen sense of smell; unusual odors are repulsive to them, and "carbolic acid drove them wild."

The New Caledonians, according to Foley (_Bulletin de la Société d'Anthropologie_, November 6, 1879), only like the smells of meat and fish which are becoming "high," like _popoya_, which smells of fowl manure, and _kava_, of rotten eggs. Fruits and vegetables which are beginning to go bad seem the best to them, while the fresh and natural odors which we prefer seem merely to say to them: "We are not yet eatable." (A taste for putrefying food, common among savages, by no means necessarily involves a distaste for agreeable scents, and even among Europeans there is a widespread taste for offensively smelling and putrid foods, especially cheese and game.)

The natives of Torres Straits were carefully examined by Dr. C.S.

Myers with regard to their olfactory acuteness and olfactory preferences. It was found that acuteness was, if anything, slightly greater than among Europeans. This appeared to be largely due to the careful attention they pay to odors. The resemblances which they detected among different odorous substances were frequently found to rest on real chemical affinities. The odors they were observed to dislike most frequently were asafoetida, valerianic acid, and civet, the last being regarded as most repulsive of all on account of its resemblance to fæcal odor, which these people regard with intense disgust. Their favorite odors were musk, thyme, and especially violet. (_Report of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits_, vol. ii, Part II, 1903.)

In Australia Lumholtz (_Among Cannibals_, p. 115) found that the blacks had a keener sense of smell than he possessed.

In New Zealand the Maoris, as W. Colenso shows, possessed, formerly at all events, a very keen sense of smell or else were very attentive to smell, and their taste as regarded agreeable and disagreeable odors corresponded very closely to European taste, although it must be added that some of their common articles of food possessed a very offensive odor. They are not only sensitive to European perfumes, but possessed various perfumes of their own, derived from plants and possessing a pleasant, powerful, and lasting odor; the choicest and rarest was the gum of the _taramea_ (_Aciphylla Colensoi_), which was gathered by virgins after the use of prayers and charms. Sir Joseph Banks noted that Maori chiefs wore little bundles of perfumes around their necks, and Cook made the same observation concerning the young women. References to the four chief Maori perfumes are contained in a stanza which is still often hummed to express satisfaction, and sung by a mother to her child:--

"My little neck-satchel of sweet-scented moss, My little neck-satchel of fragrant fern,

My little neck-satchel of odoriferous gum,

My sweet-smelling neck-locket of sharp-pointed _taramea_."

In the summer season the sleeping houses of Maori chiefs were often strewed with a large, sweet-scented, flowering grass of powerful odor. (W. Colenso, _Transactions of the New Zealand Institute_, vol. xxiv, reprinted in _Nature_, November 10, 1892.) Javanese women rub themselves with a mixture of chalk and strong essence which, when rubbed off, leaves a distinct perfume on the body. (Stratz, _Die Frauenkleidung_, p. 84.) The Samoans, Friedländer states (_Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1899, p. 52), are very fond of fragrant and aromatic odors. He gives a list of some twenty odorous plants which they use, more especially as garlands for the head and neck, including ylang-ylang and gardenia; he remarks that of one of these plants (cordyline) he could not himself detect the odor.

The Nicobarese, Man remarks (_Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, 1889, p. 377), like the natives of New Zealand, particularly dislike the smell of carbolic acid. Both young men and women are very partial to scents; the former say they find their use a certain passport to the favor of their wives, and they bring home from the jungle the scented leaves of a certain creeper to their sweethearts and wives.

Swahili women devote much attention to perfuming themselves. When a woman wishes to make herself desirable she anoints herself all over with fragrant ointments, sprinkles herself with rose-water, puts perfume into her clothes, strews jasmine flowers on her bed as well as binding them round her neck and waist, and smokes _ûdi_, the perfumed wood of the aloe; "every man is glad when his wife smells of _ûdi_" (Velten, _Sitten und Gebraüche der Suaheli_, pp. 212-214).


[24] Emile Yung, "Le Sens Olfactif de l'Escargot (Helix Pomata),"

_Archives de Psychologie_, November, 1903.

[25] The sensitiveness of smell in man generally exceeds that of chemical reaction or even of spectral analysis; see Passy, _L'Année Psychologique_, second year, 1895, p. 380.


Rise of the Study of Olfaction--Cloquet--Zwaardemaker--The Theory of Smell--The Classification of Odors--The Special Characteristics of Olfactory Sensation in Man--Smell as the Sense of Imagination--Odors as Nervous Stimulants--Vasomotor and Muscular Effects--Odorous Substances as Drugs.

During the eighteenth century a great impetus was given to the physiological and psychological study of the senses by the philosophical doctrines of Locke and the English school generally which then prevailed in Europe. These thinkers had emphasized the immense importance of the information derived through the senses in building up the intellect, so that the study of all the sensory channels assumed a significance which it had never possessed before. The olfactory sense fully shared in the impetus thus given to sensory investigation. At the beginning of the nineteenth century a distinguished French physician, Hippolyte Cloquet, a disciple of Cabanis, devoted himself more especially to this subject.

After publishing in 1815 a preliminary work, he issued in 1821 his _Osphrésiologie, ou Traité des odeurs, du sens et des organes de l'Olfaction_, a complete monograph on the anatomy, physiology, psychology, and pathology of the olfactory organ and its functions, and a work that may still be consulted with profit, if indeed it can even yet be said to be at every point superseded. After Cloquet's time the study of the sense of smell seems to have fallen into some degree of discredit. For more than half a century no important progress was made in this field. Serious investigators seemed to have become shy of the primitive senses generally, and the subject of smell was mainly left to those interested in "curious"

subjects. Many interesting observations were, however, incidentally made; thus Laycock, who was a pioneer in so many by-paths of psychology and anthropology, showed a special interest in the olfactory sense, and frequently touched on it in his _Nervous Diseases of Women_ and elsewhere. The writer who more than any other has in recent years restored the study of the sense of smell from a by-path to its proper position as a highway for investigation is without doubt Professor Zwaardemaker, of Utrecht. The invention of his first olfactometer in 1888 and the appearance in 1895 of his great work _Die Physiologie des Geruchs_ have served to give the physiology of the sense of smell an assured status and to open the way anew for much fruitful investigation, while a number of inquirers in many countries have had their attention directed to the elucidation of this sense.

Notwithstanding, however, the amount of work which has been done in this field during recent years, it cannot be said that the body of assured conclusions so far reached is large. The most fundamental principles of olfactory physiology and psychology are still somewhat vague and uncertain. Although sensations of smell are numerous and varied, in this respect approaching the sensations of vision and hearing, smell still remains close to touch in the vagueness of its messages (while the most sensitive of the senses, remarks Passy, it is the least precise), the difficulty of classifying them, the impossibility of so controlling them as to found upon them any art. It seems better, therefore, not to attempt to force the present study of a special aspect of olfaction into any general scheme which may possibly not be really valid.

The earliest and most general tendency in regard to the theory of smell was to regard it as a kind of chemical sense directly stimulated by minute particles of solid substance. A vibratory theory of smell, however, making it somewhat analogous to hearing, easily presents itself. When I first began the study of physiology in 1881, a speculation of this kind presented itself to my mind. Long before Philipp von Walther, a professor at Landshut, had put forward a dynamic theory of olfaction (_Physiologie des Menschen_, 1807-8, vol. ii, p. 278). "It is a purely dynamic operation of the odorous substance in the olfactory organ," he stated. Odor is conveyed by the air, he believed, in the same way as heat. It must be added that his reasons for this theory will not always bear examination. More recently a similar theory has been seriously put forward in various quarters. Sir William Ramsay tentatively suggested such a theory (_Nature_, vol. xxv, p. 187) in analogy with light and sound. Haycraft (_Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh_, 1883-87, and _Brain_, 1887-88), largely starting from Mendelieff's law of periodicity, similarly sought to bring smell into line with the higher senses, arguing that molecules with the same vibration have the same smell. Rutherford (_Nature_, August 11, 1892, p. 343), attaching importance to the evidence brought forward by von Brunn showing that the olfactory cells terminate in very delicate short hairs, also stated his belief that the different qualities of smell result from differences in the frequency and form of the vibrations initiated by the action of the chemical molecules on these olfactory cells, though he admitted that such a conception involved a very subtle conception of molecular vibration. Vaschide and Van Melle (Paris Academy of Sciences, December 26, 1899) have, again, argued that smell is produced by rays of short wave-lengths, analogous to light-rays, Röntgen rays, etc. Chemical action is however, a very important factor in the production of odors; this has been well shown by Ayrton (_Nature_, September 8, 1898). We seem to be forced in the direction of a chemico-vibratory theory, as pointed out by Southerden (_Nature_, March 26, 1903), the olfactory cells being directly stimulated, not by the ordinary vibrations of the molecules, but by the agitations accompanying chemical changes.

The vibratory hypothesis of the action of odors has had some influence on the recent physiologists who have chiefly occupied themselves with olfaction. "It is probable," Zwaardemaker writes (_L'Année Psychologique_, 1898), "that aroma is a physico-chemical attribute of the molecules"; he points out that there is an intimate analogy between color and odor, and remarks that this analogy leads us to suppose in an aroma ether vibrations of which the period is determined by the structure of the molecule.

Since the physiology of olfaction is yet so obscure it is not surprising that we have no thoroughly scientific classification of smells, notwithstanding various ambitious attempts to reach a classification. The classification adopted by Zwaardemaker is founded on the ancient scheme of Linnæus, and may here be reproduced:--

I. Ethereal odors (chiefly esters; Rimmel's fruity series).

II. Aromatic odors (terpenes, camphors, and the spicy, herbaceous, rosaceous, and almond series; the chemical types are well determined: cineol, eugenol, anethol, geraniol, benzaldehyde).

III. The balsamic odors (chiefly aldehydes, Rimmel's jasmin, violet, and balsamic series, with the chemical types: terpineol, ionone, vanillin).

IV. The ambrosiacal odors (ambergris and musk).

V. The alliaceous odors, with the cacodylic group (asafoetida, ichthyol, etc.).

VI. Empyreumatic odors.

VII. Valerianaceous odors (Linnæus's _Odores hircini_, the capryl group, largely composed of sexual odors).

VIII. Narcotic odors (Linnæus's _Odores tetri_).

IX. Stenches.

A valuable and interesting memoir, "Revue Générale sur les Sensations Olfactives," by J. Passy, the chief French authority on this subject, will be found in the second volume of _L'Année Psychologique_, 1895. In the fifth issue of the same year-book (for 1898) Zwaardemaker presents a full summary of his work and views, "Les Sensations Olfactives, leurs Combinaisons et leurs Compensations." A convenient, but less authoritative, summary of the facts of normal and pathological olfaction will be found in a little volume of the "Actualités Médicales" series by Dr. Collet, _L'Odorat et ses Troubles_, 1904. In a little book entitled _Wegweiser zu einer Psychologie des Geruches_ (1894) Giessler has sought to outline a psychology of smell, but his sketch can only be regarded as tentative and provisional.