Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 HTML version

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 ?rst 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 dif?culties 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 differences. I have pointed out
that we may more pro?tably seek for qualitative differences, and have endeavored to indicate such of these
differences as seem to be of signi?cance.
In an Appendix will be found a selection of histories of more or less normal sexual 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 justi?cation. I have inserted these histories not only
because many of them are highly instructive in themselves, but also because they exhibit the nature of the material
on which my work is mainly founded.
I am indebted to many correspondents, medical and other, in various parts of the world, for much valuable
assistance. When they have permitted me to do so I have usually mentioned their names in the text. This has not
been possible in the case of many women friends and correspondents, to whom, however, my debt is very great.
Nature has put upon women the greater part of the burden of sexual reproduction; they have consequently become
the supreme authorities on all matters in which the sexual emotions come into question. Many circumstances,
however, that are fairly obvious, conspire to make it dif?cult for women to assert publicly the wisdom and
knowledge which, in matters of love, the experiences of life have brought to them. The ladies who, in all
earnestness and sincerity, write books on these questions are often the last people to whom we should go as the
representatives of their sex; those who know most have written least. I can therefore but express again, as in
previous volumes I have expressed before, my deep gratitude to these anonymous collaborators who have aided
me in throwing light on a ?eld of human life which is of such primary social importance and is yet so dimly
Carbis Water,
Lelant, Cornwall, England.
De?nition of Instinct—The Sexual Impulse a Factor of the Sexual Instinct—Theory of the Sexual Impulse as an
Impulse of Evacuation—The Evidence in Support of this Theory Inadequate—The Sexual Impulse to Some Extent
Independent of the Sexual Glands—The Sexual Impulse in Castrated Animals and Men—The Sexual Impulse in
Castrated Women, After the Menopause, and in the Congenital Absence of the Sexual Glands—The Internal
Secretions—Analogy between the Sexual Relationship and that of the Suckling Mother and her Child—The
Theory of the Sexual Impulse as a Reproductive Impulse—This Theory Untenable—Moll's De?nition—The
Impulse of Detumescence—The Impulse of Contrectation—Modi?cation of this Theory Proposed—Its Relation
to Darwin's Sexual Selection—The Essential Element in Darwin's Conception—Summary of the History of the
Doctrine of Sexual Selection. Its Psychological Aspect—Sexual Selection a Part of Natural Selection—The