Studies on the Psychology of Sex, Volume 5 by Havelock Ellis. - HTML preview

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same degree, although I have, upon several occasions, enjoyed

myself fairly well by their use. Nude women repel me, and I find

no pleasure in seeing a woman in tights. I am not averse to

normal sexual connection and occasionally employ it.

To me,

however, the pleasure is far inferior to that of being trampled

upon. I also derive keen pleasure--and usually have a strong

erection--from seeing a woman, dressed as I have described, tread

upon anything which yields under her foot--such as the seat of a

carriage, the cushions of a punt, a footstool, etc., and I enjoy

seeing her crush flowers by treading upon them. I have often

strolled along in the wake of some handsome lady at a picnic or

garden party, for the pleasure of seeing the grass upon which she

has trodden rise slowly again after her foot has pressed it. I

delight also to see a carriage sway as a woman leaves or enters

it--anything which needs the pressure of the foot.

"To pass now to the origin of this direction of my feelings.

"Even in early childhood I admired pretty feminine foot-gear, and

in the contemplation of it experienced vague sensations which I

now recognize as sexual. When a lad of 14 or so, I stayed a good

deal at the house of some intimate friends of my parents, the

daughter of the house--an only child--a beautiful and powerful

girl, about six years my senior, being my special chum. This girl

was always daintily dressed, and having most lovely feet and

ankles not unnaturally knew it. Whenever possible she dressed so

as to show off their beauty to the best advantage--

rather short

skirts and usually little high-heeled slippers--and was not

averse to showing them in a most distractingly coquettish manner.

She seemed to have a passion for treading upon things which would

scrunch or yield under her foot, such as flowers, little

windfallen apples and pears, acorns, etc., or heaps of hay, straw

or cut grass. As we wandered about the gardens--for we were left

to do exactly as we liked--I got quite accustomed to seeing her

hunt out and tread upon such things, and used to chaff her about

it. At that time I was--as I am still--fond of lying at full

length on a thick hearthrug before a good fire. One evening as I

was lying in this way and we were alone, A. crossed the room to

reach a bangle from the mantelpiece. Instead of reaching over me,

she playfully stepped upon my body, saying that she would show me

how the hay and straw felt. Naturally I fell in with the joke and

laughed. After standing upon me a few moments she raised her

skirt slightly and, holding on to the mantelpiece for support,

stretched out one dainty foot in its brown silk stocking and

high-heeled slipper to the blaze to warm, while looking down and

laughing at my scarlet, excited face. She was a perfectly frank

and charming girl, and I feel pretty certain that, although she

evidently enjoyed my excitement and the feeling of my body

yielding under her feet, she did not on this first occasion

clearly understand my condition; nor can I remember that, though

the desire for sexual gratification drove me nearly mad, it

appeared to awaken in her any reciprocal feeling. I took hold of

her raised foot and, after kissing it, guided it by an absolutely

irresistible impulse on to my penis, which was as hard as wood

and seemed almost bursting. Almost at the moment that her weight

was thrown upon it, orgasm took place for the first time in my

life thoroughly and effectively. No description can give any idea

of what I felt--I only know that from that moment my distorted

sexual focus was fixed forever. Numberless times, after that

evening, I felt the weight of her dainty slippers, and nothing

will ever cause the memory of the pleasure she thus gave me to

fade. I know that A. came to enjoy treading upon me, as much as I

enjoyed having her do it. She had a liberal dress allowance and,

seeing the pleasure they gave me, she was always buying pretty

stockings and ravishing slippers with the highest and most

slender Louis heels she could find and would show them to me with

the greatest glee, urging me to lie down that she might try them

on me. She confessed that she loved to see and feel them sink

into my body as she trod upon me and enjoyed the crunch of the

muscles under her heel as she moved about. After some minutes of

this, I always guided her slipper on to my penis, and she would

tread carefully, but with her whole weight--probably about 9

stone--and watch me with flashing eyes, flushed cheeks, and

quivering lips, as she felt--as she must have done plainly--the

throbbing and swelling of my penis under her foot as emission

took place. I have not the smallest doubt that orgasm took place

simultaneously with her, though we never at any time spoke openly

of it. This went on for several years on almost every favorable

opportunity we had, and after a month or two of separation

sometimes four or five times during a single day.

Several times

during A.'s absence I masturbated by getting her slipper and

pressing it with all my strength against the penis while

imagining that she was treading upon me. The pleasure was, of

course, very inferior to her attentions. There was never at any

time between us any question of normal sexual intercourse, and we

were both well content to let things drift as they were.

"A little after 20 I went abroad, and on my return about three

years later I found her married. Although we met often, the

subject was never alluded to, though we remained firm friends. I

confess I often, when I could do so without being seen, looked

longingly at her feet and would have gladly accepted the pleasure

she could have given me by an occasional resumption of our

strange practice--but it never came.

"I went abroad again, and now neither she nor her husband are

alive and leave no issue. From time to time I have had occasional

relations with prostitutes, but always in this manner, though I

much prefer to find some lady of or above my own social position

who will do the treading for me. This is, however, interestingly


"Out of say a hundred women (which at home and abroad is what I

should estimate must have stood upon my body) I should say quite

80 or 85 were _not_ prostitutes. Certainly not more than 10 to 12

shared any _sexual_ excitement, but while they were evidently

excited they were not gratified. A. alone, so far as I know, had

complete sexual satisfaction of it. I have never asked a woman in

so many words to tread upon me for the purpose of gratifying my

sexual desires (prostitutes excepted), but have always tempted

them to do it in a jocular or teasing manner, and it is very

doubtful if more than a few (married) women really understood,

even after they had given me the extreme pleasure, that they had

done so, because any flushing and movement on my part under their

feet was not unnaturally put down to the trampling to which they

were subjecting me, and it was easy for me to guide the foot as

often as was necessary on to the penis till orgasm took place,

and even to keep it there by laying hold of the other one to kiss

it or on some other pretext during emission. Of course many

understood after once doing it (most have done it only once) what

I was at, and, although they did not ever discuss it nor did I,

they were not unwilling to give me as many treadings as I cared

to playfully suggest. I don't think they got any pleasure

sexually out of it themselves, though they could see plainly that

I did, and they did not object to give it me. I have spent as

long as twelve months with some women working gradually nearer

and nearer to my desire--often getting what I want in the end,

but more often failing. I _never_ risk it till I am certain it

would be safe to ask it, and have never had a serious rebuff. In

very many cases I should say the doing of what I want has simply

been regarded by the woman as gratifying a silly and perhaps

amusing whim, in which, beyond the novelty of treading on a man's

body, she has taken but little interest.

"As in normal seduction, the endeavor to win the woman over to do

what I want without arousing her antagonism is a great part of

the charm to me, and naturally the better her social position the

more difficult this becomes--and the more attractive. I have

found that in three instances prostitutes have performed the same

office for other men and knew all about it. It is not

uninteresting to note that these three women were all of fine,

massive build--one standing about 5 feet 10 inches and weighing

nearly 14 stone--but with comparatively uninteresting faces. The

weight, build and clothing count for a good deal in exciting me.

I find that a sudden check to a man at the supreme moment of

sexual pleasure tends to heighten and prolong the pleasure. My

physical satisfaction is due to the fact that by getting the lady

to stand with all her weight upon my penis (as it lies between

her foot and the soft bed of my own body into which it is deeply

pressed) the act of emission is enormously prolonged, with

corresponding enjoyment. For this reason also I prefer a very

high-heeled slipper. The seminal fluid has to be forced past two

separate obstacles--the pressure of the heel close at the root of

the penis and afterwards the ball of the foot which compresses

the outer half, leaving a free portion between them under the

arched sole of the slipper. I may add that the pleasure is

greatly increased by the retention of the urine, and I always try

to retain as much water as I dare. I have an unconquerable

aversion to red in slippers or stockings; it will even cause

impotence. Why, I know not. Strange as it may seem, although pain

and bruising are often inflicted by a severe treading, I have

never been in any way injured by the practice, and my pleasure in

it seems not to diminish by constant repetition. The comparative

difficulty of obtaining the pleasure from just the woman I want

has a never-ending, if inexplicable, charm for me."

It will be observed that in this case special importance is

attached to shoes with high heels, and the subject considers that

the pressure of such shoes is for mechanical reasons most

favorable for procuring ejaculation. Nearly all heterosexual

shoe-fetichists seem, however, to be equally attracted by high

heels. Restif de la Bretonne frequently referred to this point,

and he gave a number of reasons for the attractiveness of high

heels: (1) They are unlike men's boots and, therefore, have a

sexual fascination; (2) they make the leg and foot look more

charming; (3) they give a less bold and more sylph-like character

to the walk; (4) they keep the feet clean. (Restif de la

Bretonne, _Nuits de Paris_, vol. v, quoted in Preface to his _Mes

Inscriptions_, p. ciii.) It is doubtless the first reason--the

fact that high heels are a kind of secondary sexual character--which is most generally potent in this attraction.

The foregoing history, while it very distinctly brings before us a case of

erotic symbolism, is not strictly an example of shoe-fetichism. The

symbolism is more complex. The focus of beauty in a desirable woman is

transferred and concentrated in the region below the knee; in that sense

we have foot-fetichism. But the act of coitus itself is also symbolically

transferred. Not only has the foot become the symbol of the vulva, but

trampling has become the symbol of coitus; intercourse takes place

symbolically _per pedem_. It is a result of this symbolization of the foot

and of trampling that all acts of treading take on a new and symbolical

sexual charm. The element of masochism--of pleasure in being a woman's

slave--is a parasitic growth; that is to say, it is not founded in the

subject's constitution, but chances to have found a favorable soil in the

special circumstances under which his sexual life developed. It is not

primary, but secondary, and remains an unimportant and merely occasional


It may be instructive to bring forward for comparison a case in which also

we have a symbolism involving boot-fetichism, but extending beyond it. In

this case there is a basis of inversion (as is not infrequent in erotic

symbolisms), but from the present point of view the psychological

significance of the case remains the same.

A.N., aged 29, unmarried, healthy, though not robust, and without

any known hereditary taint. Has followed various avocations

without taking great interest in them, but has shown some

literary ability.

"I am an Englishman," his own narrative runs, "the third of three

children. At my birth my father was 41 and my mother 34. My

mother died of cancer when I was 15. My father is still alive, a

reserved man, who still nurses his sorrow for his wife's death. I

have no reason to believe my parents anything but normal and

useful members of society. My sister is normal and happily

married. My brother I have reason to believe to be an invert.

"A horoscope cast for me describes me in a way I think correct,

and so do my friends: 'A mild, obliging, gentle, amiable person,

with many fine traits of character; timid in nature, fond of

society, loving peace and quietude, delighting in warm and close

friendships. There is much that is firm, steadfast and

industrious, some self-love, a good deal of diplomacy, a little

that is subtle, or what is called finesse. You are reserved with

those you dislike. There is a serious and sad side to your

character; you are very thoughtful and contemplative when in

these moods. But you are not pessimistic. You have superior

abilities, for they are intuitively intellectual.

There is a cold

reticence which restrains generous impulses and which inclines to

acquisitiveness; it will make you deliberate, inventive, adding

self-esteem, some vanity.'

"At an early age I was left much alone in the nursery and there

contracted the habit of masturbation long before the age of

puberty. I use the word 'masturbation' for want of a better,

though it may not quite describe my case. I have never used my

hand to the penis. As far back as I can remember I have had what

a Frenchman has described as 'le fetichisme de la chaussure,' and

in those early days, before I was 6 years old, I would put on my

father's boots, taken from a cupboard at hand, and then tying or

strapping my legs together would produce an erection, and all the

pleasurable feelings experienced, I suppose, by means of

masturbation. I always did this secretly, but couldn't tell why.

I continued this practice on and off all my boyhood and youth.

When I discovered the first emission I was much surprised. I

always did this thing without loosening my trousers.

As to how

these feelings arose I am totally unable to say. I can't remember

being without such feelings, and they seem to me perfectly

normal. The sight, or even thought, of high boots, or leggings,

especially if well polished or in patent leather, would set all

my sexual passions aflame, and does yet. As a boy my great desire

was to wear these things. A soldier in boots and spurs, a groom

in tops, or even an errand-boy in patent leather leggings,

fascinated me, and to this day, despite reason and everything

else. The sight of such things produced an erection.

An emission

I could always produce by tightly tying my legs together, but

only when wearing boots, and preferably leggings, which when I

had pocket money I bought for this purpose. (At the present

moment I have five pairs in the house and two pairs of high

boots, quite unjustified by ordinary use.) This habit I lapse

into yet at times. The smell of leather affects me, but I never

know how far this may be due to association with boots; the smell

suggests the image. Restraint by a leather strap is more exciting

than by cords. Erotic dreams always take the form of restraint on

the limbs when booted.

"Uniforms and liveries have a great temptation for me, but only

when of a tight-fitting nature and smart, as soldiers', grooms',

etc., but not sailors'; most powerfully when the person is in

boots or leggings and breeches.

"I was a quiet, sensitive boy, taking no part in games or sports.

Have always been indifferent to them. I made few friends, but

didn't want them. The craving for friendship came much later,

after I was 21. I was a day boy at a private school, and never

had any conversation with any boy on sexual matters, though I was

dimly aware of much 'nastiness' about the school. I knew nothing

of sodomy. But all these things were repulsive to me,

notwithstanding my secret practices. I was a 'good boy.'

"Up to the age of 21 I was perfectly satisfied with my own

society, something of a prig, fond of books and reading, etc. I

was and ever have been absolutely insensible to the influence of

the other sex. I am not a woman hater, and take intellectual

pleasure in the society of certain ladies, but they are nearly

all much older than myself. I have a strong repulsion from sexual

relations with women. I should not mind being married for the

sake of companionship and for the sake of having boys of my own.

But the sexual act would frighten me. I could not in my present

frame of mind go to bed with a woman. Yet I feel an immense envy

of my married friends in that they are able to give out, and find

satisfaction for, their affection in a way that is quite

impossible for me. I picture certain boys in the place of the


"I am now only happy in the society of men younger than myself,

age 17 to (say) 23 or 24, youths with smooth faces, or first sign

of hair on lip, well groomed, slightly effeminate in feature, of

sympathetic, perhaps weak nature. I feel I want to help them, do

something for them, devote myself entirely to their welfare.

"With such there is no fixed line between friendship and love. I

yearn for intimacy with particular friends, but never dare

express it. I find so many people object to any strong expression

of feeling that I dare not run the risk of appearing ridiculous

in the eyes of these desired intimates.

"I have no desire for _pædicatio_, but the idea itself does not

repulse me or seem unnatural, though personally it repels me a

little. But I think this to be mere prejudice on my part, which

might be broken down if the loved person showed a willingness to

act a passive part. I should never dare to make an advance,


"I am restrained by moral and religious considerations from

making my real feelings known, and I feel I should sink in my own

estimation if I gave way, though my natural desire is to do so.

In the face of opportunities (not I mean of _pædicatio_, but of

expression of excessive affection, etc.), or what might be such,

I always fail to speak lest I should forfeit the esteem of the

other person. I have a feeling of surprise when any one I like

evinces a liking for me. I feel that those I love are

immeasurably my superiors, though my reason may tell me it is not

so. I would grovel at their feet, do anything to win a smile from

them, or to make them give me their company.

"Ordinary bodily contact with the boy I love gives me most

exquisite pleasure, and I never lose an opportunity of bringing

such contact about when it can be done naturally. I feel an

immense desire to embrace, kiss, squeeze, etc., the person, to

generally maul him, and say nice things--the kind of things a man

usually says to a woman. A handshake, the mere presence of the

person, makes me happy and content.

"I can say with the Albanian: 'If I find myself in the presence

of the beloved, I rest absorbed in gazing on him.

Absent, I think

of nought but him. If the beloved unexpectedly appears I fall

into confusion. My heart beats faster. I have eyes and ears only

for the beloved.'

"I feel that my capacity of affection is finer and more spiritual

than that which commonly subsists between persons of different

sexes. And so, while trying to fight my instincts by religion, I

find my natural feeling to be part of my religion, and its

highest expression. In this sense I can speak from experience in

my own case, and more especially in that of my brother, that what

you have said about philanthropic activity resulting from

repressed homosexuality is very true indeed. I can say with one

of your female cases: 'Love is to me a religion. The very nature

of my affection for my friends precludes the possibility of any

element entering into it which is not absolutely pure and

sacred.' I am, however, madly jealous. I want entire possession,

and I can't bear for a moment that any one I do not care for

should know the person I love.

"I am never attracted by men older than myself. The youths who

attract me may be of any class, though preferably, I think, of a

class a little lower than myself. I am not quite sure of this,

however, as circumstances may have contributed more than

deliberate choice to bring certain youths under my notice. Those

who have exercised the most powerful influence on me have been an

Oxford undergraduate, a barber's assistant, and a plumber's

apprentice. Though naturally fond of intellectual society, I do

not ask for intellect in those I love. It goes for nothing. I

always prefer their company to that of the most educated persons.

This preference has alienated me to some extent from more refined

and educated circles that formerly I was intimate with.

"I have been led entirely out of my old habits by association

with younger friends, and now do things which before I should

never have dreamed of doing. My thoughts now are always with

certain youths, and if they speak of leaving the town, or in any

way talk of a future that I cannot share, I suffer horrid

sinkings of the heart and depression of spirits."

This case, while it concerns a person of quite different temperament, with

a more innate predisposition to specific perversions, is yet in many

respects analogous to the previous case. There is boot-fetichism; nothing

is felt to be so attractive as the foot-gear, and there is also at the

same time more than this; there is the attraction of repression and

constraint developed into a sexual symbol. In C.P.'s case that symbolism

arises from the experience of an abnormal heterosexual relationship; in

A.N.'s case it is founded on auto-erotic experiences associated with

inversion; in both alike the entire symbolism has become diffused and


In the two cases just brought forward we have an erotic symbolism of act

founded on, and closely associated with, an erotic symbolism of object. It

may be instructive to bring forward another case in which no fetichistic

feeling toward an object can be traced, but an erotic symbolism still

clearly exists. In this case pain, even when self-inflicted, has acquired

a symbolic value as a stimulus to tumescence, without any element of

masochism. Such a case serves to indicate how the sexual attraction of

pain is really a special case of the erotic symbolism with which we are

here concerned.

A.W., aged 50, a writer and lecturer, physically and mentally

energetic and enjoying good health. He is, however, very

emotional and of nervous temperament, but self-controlled. Though

physically well developed, the sexual organs are small. He is

married to an attractive woman, to whom he is much attached, and

has two healthy children.

At 10 or 12 years of age he had a frequent desire to be whipped,

his parents never having struck him, and on one occasion he asked

a brother to go with him to the closet to get him to whip him on

the posterior; but on arrival he was too shy to make the request.

He did not recognize the cause of these desires, knowing nothing

of such things except from the misinformation of his school-fellows' talk. As far as he can remember, he was an

entirely normal, healthy boy up to the age of about 15, when his

attention was arrested by an advertisement of a quack medicine

for the results of "youthful excesses."

Being a city boy, he was unfamiliar with the coupling even of

animals, had never had a conscious erection and did not know of

frictional excitement. Experiment, however, resulted in an

orgasm, and, though believing that it was wicked or at least weak

and degrading, he indulged in masturbation at intervals, usually

about six times a month, and has continued even up to the


He had an abnormally small opening in the prepuce, making the

uncovering of the glans almost impossible. (At the age of about

37, he himself slit the prepuce by three or four cuts of a

scissors at intervals of about ten days. This was followed by a

marked decrease in desire, especially as he shortly afterwards

learned the importance of local cleanliness.) While in college at

about the age of 19 he began to have nocturnal emissions

occasionally and once or twice a week when at stool.

Alarmed by

these, he consulted a physician, who warned him of the danger,

gave him bromide and prescribed cold bathing of the parts, with a

hard, cool bed. These stopped the emissions.

He never had connection with women until the age of about 25, and

then only three times until his marriage at 30 years of age,

being deterred partly by conscientious scruples, but more by

shyness and convention, and deriving very little pleasure from

these instances. Even since marriage he has derived more pleasure

from sexual excitement than from coitus, and can maintain

erection for as long as two hours.

He has always been accustomed to torture himself in various

ingenious ways, nearly always connected with sex. He would burn

his skin deeply with red hot wire in inconspicuous places. These

and similar acts were generally followed by manual excitation

nearly always brought to a climax.

He considers that he is attracted to refined and intellectual

women. But he is without very ardent desires, having several

times gone to bed with attractive women who stripped themselves

naked, but without attempting any sexual intercourse with them.

He became interested in the "Karezza" theory and has tried to

practice it with his wife, but could never entirely control the


He has hired a masseur to whip him, as children are whipped, with

a heavy dog whip, which caused pleasurable excitement. During

this time he had relations with his wife generally about once a

week without any great ecstasy. She was cold and sexually slow,

owing to conventional sex repression and to an idea that the

whole thing was "like animals" and to fear of child-bearing,

usually necessitating the use of a cover or withdrawal. It was

only eight years after their marriage that she desired and

obtained a child. During these years he would often stick pins

through his mammæ and tie them together by a string round the

pins drawn so short as to cause great pain and then indulge

himself in the sexual act. He used strong wooden clips with a

tack fixed in them, so as to pierce and pinch the mammæ, and once

he drove a pin entirely through the penis itself, then obtaining

orgasm by friction. He was never able to get an automatic

emission in this way, though he often tried, not even by walking

briskly during an erection.

In another class of cases a purely ideal symbolism may be present by means

of a fetich which acts as a powerful stimulus without itself being felt to

possess any attraction. A good illustration of this condition is furnished

by a case which has been communicated to me by a medical correspondent in

New Zealand.

"The patient went out to South Africa as a trooper with the

contingent from New Zealand, throwing up a good position in an

office to do so. He had never had any trouble as regards

connection with women before going out to South Africa. While in

active service at the front he sustained a nasty fall from his

horse, breaking his leg. He was unconscious for four days, and

was then invalided down to Cape Town. Here he rapidly got well,

and his accustomed health returning to him he started having what

he terms 'a good time.' He repeatedly went to brothels, but was

unable to have more than a temporary erection, and no ejaculation

would take place. In one of these places he was in company with a

drunken trooper, who suggested that they should perform the

sexual act with their boots and spurs (only) on. My patient, who

was also drunk, readily assented, and to his surprise was enabled

to perform the act of copulation without any difficulty at all.

He has repeatedly tried since to perform the act without any

spurs, but is quite unable to do so; with the spurs he has no

difficulty at all in obtaining all the gratification he desires.

His general health is good. His mother was an extremely nervous

woman, and so is his sister. His father died when he was quite

young. His only other relation in the colony is a married sister,

who seems to enjoy vigorous health."

The consideration of the cases here brought forward may suffice to show

that beyond those fetichisms which find their satisfaction in the

contemplation of a part of the body or a garment, there is a more subtle

symbolism. The foot is a center of force, an agent for exerting pressure,

and thus it furnishes a point of departure not alone for the merely static

sexual fetich, but for a dynamic erotic symbolization.

The energy of its

movements becomes a substitute for the energy of the sexual organs

themselves in coitus, and exerts the same kind of fascination. The young

girl (page 35) "who seemed to have a passion for treading upon things

which would scrunch or yield under her foot," already possessed the germs

of an erotic symbolism which, under the influence of circumstances in

which she herself took an active part, developed into an adequate method

of sexual gratification.[23] The youth who was her partner learned, in the

same way, to find an erotic symbolism in all the pressure reactions of

attractive feminine feet, the swaying of a carriage beneath their weight,

the crushing of the flowers on which they tread, the slow rising of the

grass which they have pressed. Here we have a symbolism which is

altogether different from that fetichism which adores a definite object;

it is a dynamic symbolism finding its gratification in the spectacle of

movements which ideally recall the fundamental rhythm and pressure

reactions of the sexual process.

We may trace a very similar erotic symbolism in an absolutely normal form.

The fascination of clothes in the lover's eyes is no doubt a complex

phenomenon, but in part it rests on the aptitudes of a woman's garments to

express vaguely a dynamic symbolism which must always remain indefinite

and elusive, and on that account always possess fascination. No one has so

acutely described this symbolism as Herrick, often an admirable

psychologist in matters of sexual attractiveness.

Especially instructive

in this respect are his poems, "Delight in Disorder,"

"Upon Julia's

Clothes," and notably "Julia's Petticoat." "A sweet disorder in the

dress," he tells us, "kindles in clothes a wantonness;"

it is not on the

garment itself, but on the character of its movement that he insists; on

the "erring lace," the "winning wave" of the

"tempestuous petticoat;" he

speaks of the "liquefaction" of clothes, their "brave vibration each way

free," and of Julia's petticoat he remarks with a more specific symbolism


"Sometimes 'twould pant and sigh and heave, As if to stir it scarce had leave;

But having got it, thereupon,

'Twould make a brave expansion."

In the play of the beloved woman's garment, he sees the whole process of

the central act of sex, with its repressions and expansions, and at the

sight is himself ready to "fall into a swoon."


[13] G. Stanley Hall, _Adolescence_, vol. ii, p. 113. It will be noted

that the hand does not appear among the parts of the body which are

normally of supreme interest. An interest in the hand is by no means

uncommon (it may be noted, for instance, in the course of History XII in

Appendix B to vol. iii of these _Studies_), but the hand does not possess

the mystery which envelops the foot, and hand-fetichism is very much less

frequent than foot-fetichism, while glove-fetichism is remarkably rare. An

interesting case of hand-fetichism, scarcely reaching morbid intensity, is

recorded by Binet, _Etudes de Psychologie Expérimentale_, pp. 13-19; and

see Krafft-Ebing, _Op. cit._, pp. 214 et seq.

[14] _Mémoires_, vol. i, Chapter VII.

[15] Among leading English novelists Hardy shows an unusual but by no

means predominant interest in the feet and shoes of his heroines; see,

e.g., the observations of the cobbler in _Under the Greenwood Tree_,

Chapter III. A chapter in Goethe's

_Wahlverwandtschaften_ (Part I, Chapter II) contains an episode involving the charm of the foot and the kissing of

the beloved's shoe.

[16] Schinz, "Philosophie des Conventions Sociales,"


Philosophique_, June, 1903, p. 626. Mirabeau mentions in his _Erotika

Biblion_ that modern Greek women sometimes use their feet to provoke

orgasm in their lovers. I may add that simultaneous mutual masturbation by

means of the feet is not unknown to-day, and I have been told by an

English shoe-fetichist that he at one time was accustomed to practice this

with a married lady (Brazilian)--she with slippers on and he without--who

derived gratification equal to his own.

[17] Jacoby (loc. cit. pp. 796-7) gives a large number of references to

Ovid's works bearing on this point. "In reading him," he remarks, "one is

inclined to say that the psychology of the Romans was closely allied to

that of the Chinese."

[18] R. Kleinpaul, _Sprache ohne Worte_, p. 308. See also Moll, _Konträre

Sexualempfindung_, third edition, pp. 306-308. Bloch brings together many

interesting references bearing on the ancient sexual and religious

symbolism of the shoe, _Beiträge zur Ætiologie der Psychopathia Sexualis_,

Teil II, p. 324.

[19] Jacoby (loc. cit. p. 797) appears to regard shoe-fetichism as a true

atavism: "The sexual adoration of feminine foot-gear,"

he concludes,

"perhaps the most enigmatic and certainly the most singular of

degenerative insanities, is thus merely a form of atavism, the return of

the degenerate to the very ancient and primitive psychology which we no

longer understand and are no longer capable of feeling."

[20] Moll has reported in detail (_Untersuchungen über die Libido

Sexualis_, bd. i, Teil II, pp. 320-324) a case which both he and

Krafft-Ebing regard as illustrative of the connection between

boot-fetichism and masochism. It is essentially a case of masochism,

though manifesting itself almost exclusively in the desire to perform

humiliating acts in connection with the attractive person's boots.

[21] Krafft-Ebing goes so far as to assert (_Psychopathia Sexualis_,

English translation of tenth edition, p. 174) that "when in cases of

shoe-fetichism the female shoe appears alone as the excitant of sexual

desire one is justified in presuming that masochistic motives have

remained latent.... Latent masochism may always be assumed as the

unconscious motive." In this way he hopelessly misinterprets some of his

own cases.

[22] Krafft-Ebing goes so far as to assert (_Psychopathia Sexualis_,

English translation, pp. 159 and 174). Yet some of the cases he brings

forward (e.g., Coxe's as quoted by Hammond) show no sign of masochism,

since, according to Krafft-Ebing's own definition (p.

116), the idea of

subjugation by the opposite sex is of the essence of masochism.

[23] Her actions suggest that there is often a latent sexual consciousness

in regard to the feet in women, atavistic or pseudo-atavistic, and

corresponding to the sexual attraction which the feet formerly aroused,

almost normally, in men. This is also suggested by the case, referred to

by Shufeldt, of an unmarried woman, belonging to a family exhibiting in a

high degree both erotic and neurotic traits, who had "a certain

uncontrollable fascination for shoes. She delights in new shoes, and

changes her shoes all day long at regular intervals of three hours each.

She keeps this row of shoes out in plain sight in her apartment." (R.W.

Shufeldt, "On a Case of Female Impotency," 1896, p. 10.) III.

Scatalogic Symbolism--Urolagnia--Coprolagnia--The Ascetic Attitude Towards

the Flesh--Normal basis of Scatalogic Symbolism--

Scatalogic Conceptions

Among Primitive Peoples--Urine as a Primitive Holy Water--Sacredness of

Animal Excreta--Scatalogy in Folk-lore--The Obscene as Derived from the

Mythological--The Immature Sexual Impulse Tends to Manifest Itself in

Scatalogic Forms--The basis of Physiological Connection Between the

Urinary and Genital Spheres--Urinary Fetichism Sometimes Normal in

Animals--The Urolagnia of Masochists--The Scatalogy of Saints--Urolagnia

More Often a Symbolism of Act Than a Symbolism of Object--Only

Occasionally an Olfactory Fetichism--Comparative Rarity of

Coprolagnia--Influence of Nates Fetichism as a Transition to

Coprolagnia--Ideal Coprolagnia--Olfactory Coprolagnia--

Urolagnia and

Coprolagnia as Symbols of Coitus.

We meet with another group of erotic symbolisms--alike symbolisms of

object and of act--in connection with the two functions adjoining the

anatomical sexual focus: the urinary and alvine excretory functions. These

are sometimes termed the scatalogical group, with the two subdivisions of

urolagnia and Coprolagnia.[24] _Inter fæces et urinam nascimur_ is an

ancient text which has served the ascetic preachers of old for many

discourses on the littleness of man and the meanness of that reproductive

power which plays so large a part in man's life. "The stupid bungle of

Nature," a correspondent writes, "whereby the generative organs serve as a

means of relieving the bladder, is doubtless responsible for much of the

disgust which those organs excite in some minds."

At the same time, it is necessary to point out, such reflex influence may

act not in one direction only, but also in the reverse direction. From

the standpoint of ascetic contemplation eager to belittle humanity, the

excretory centers may cast dishonor upon the genital center which they

adjoin. From the more ecstatic standpoint of the impassioned lover, eager

to magnify the charm of the woman he worships, it is not impossible for

the excretory centers to take on some charm from the irradiating center of

sex which they enclose.

Even normally such a process is traceable. The normal lover may not

idealize the excretory functions of his mistress, but the fact that he

finds no repulsion in the most intimate contacts and feels no disgust at

the proximity of the excretory orifices or the existence of their

functions, indicates that the idealization of love has exerted at all

events a neutralizing influence; indeed, the presence of an acute

sensibility to the disturbing influence of this proximity of the excretory

orifices and their functions must be considered abnormal; Swift's

"Strephon and Chloe"--with the conviction underlying it that it is an easy

matter for the excretory functions to drown the possibilities of

love--could only have proceeded from a morbidly sensitive brain.[25]

A more than mere neutralizing influence, a positively idealizing influence

of the sexual focus on the excretory processes adjoining it, may take

place in the lover's mind without the normal variations of sexual

attraction being over-passed, and even without the creation of an

excretory fetichism.

Reflections of this attitude may be found in the poets. In the

_Song of Songs_ the lover says of his mistress, "Thy navel is

like a round goblet, wherein no mingled wine is wanting;" in his

lyric "To Dianeme," Herrick says with clear reference to the

mons veneris:--

"Show me that hill where smiling love doth sit, Having a living fountain under it;"

and in the very numerous poems in various languages which have

more or less obscurely dealt with the rose as the emblem of the

feminine pudenda there are occasional references to the stream

which guards or presides over the rose. It may, indeed, be

recalled that even in the name _nymphæ_ anatomists commonly apply

to the _labia minora_ there is generally believed to be a poetic

allusion to the Nymphs who presided over streams, since the

_labia minora_ exert an influence on the direction of the urinary


In _Wilhelm Meister_ (Part I, Chapter XV), Goethe, on the basis

of his own personal experiences, describes his hero's emotions in

the humble surroundings of Marianne's little room as compared

with the stateliness and order of his own home. "It seemed to him

when he had here to remove her stays in order to reach the

harpsichord, there to lay her skirt on the bed before he could

seat himself, when she herself with unembarrassed frankness would

make no attempt to conceal from him many natural acts which

people are accustomed to hide from others out of decency--it

seemed to him, I say, that he became bound to her by invisible

bands." We are told of Wordsworth (Findlay's _Recollections of De

Quincey_, p. 36) that he read _Wilhelm Meister_ till

"he came to

the scene where the hero, in his mistress's bedroom, becomes

sentimental over her dirty towels, etc., which struck him with

such disgust that he flung the book out of his hand, would never

look at it again, and declared that surely no English lady would

ever read such a work." I have, however, heard a woman of high

intellectual distinction refer to the peculiar truth and beauty

of this very passage.

In one of his latest novels, _Les Rencontres de M.

de Bréot_,

Henri de Régnier, one of the most notable of recent French

novelists, narrates an episode bearing on the matter before us. A

personage of the story is sitting for a moment in a dark grotto

during a night fête in a nobleman's park, when two ladies enter

and laughingly proceed to raise their garments and accomplish a

natural necessity. The man in the background, suddenly overcome

by a sexual impulse, starts forward; one lady runs away, the

other, whom he detains, offers little resistance to his advances.

To M. de Bréot, whom he shortly after encounters, he exclaims,

abashed at his own actions: "Why did I not flee? But could I

imagine that the spectacle of so disgusting a function would have

any other effect than to give me a humble opinion of human

nature?" M. de Bréot, however, in proceeding to reproach his

interlocutor for his inconsiderate temerity, observes: "What you

tell me, sir, does not entirely surprise me. Nature has placed

very various instincts within us, and the impulse that led you to

what you have just now done is not so peculiar as you think. One

may be a very estimable man and yet love women even in what is

lowliest in their bodies." In harmony with this passage from

Régnier's novel are the remarks of a correspondent who writes to

me of the function of urination that it "appeals sexually to most

normal individuals. My own observations and inquiries prove this.

Women themselves instinctively feel it. The secrecy surrounding

the matter lends, too, I think, a sexual interest."

The fact that scatalogic processes may in some degree exert an

attraction even in normal love has been especially emphasized by

Bloch (_Beiträge zur Ætiologie der Psychopathia Sexualis_, Teil

II, pp. 222, et seq.): "The man whose intellect and æsthetic

sense has been 'clouded by the sexual impulse' sees these things

in an entirely different light from him who has not been overcome

by the intoxication of love. For him they are idealized (sit

venia verbo) since they are a part of the beloved person, and in

consequence associated with love." Bloch quotes the _Memoiren

einer Sängerin_ (a book which is said to be, though this seems

doubtful, genuinely autobiographical) in the same sense: "A man

who falls in love with a girl is not dragged out of his poetic

sphere by the thought that his beloved must relieve certain

natural necessities every day. It seems, indeed, to him to be

just the opposite. If one loves a person one finds nothing

obscene or disgusting in the object that pleases me." The

opposite attitude is probably in extreme cases due to the

influence of a neurotic or morbidly sensitive temperament. Swift

possessed such a temperament. The possession of a similar

temperament is doubtless responsible for the little prose poem,

"L'Extase," in which Huysmans in his first book, _Le Drageloir á

Epices_, has written an attenuated version of

"Strephon and

Chloe" to express the disillusionment of love; the lover lies in

a wood clasping the hand of the beloved with rapturous emotion;

"suddenly she rose, disengaged her hand, disappeared in the

bushes, and I heard as it were the rustling of rain on the

leaves." His dream has fled.

In estimating the significance of the lover's attitude in this matter, it

is important to realize the position which scatologic conceptions took in

primitive belief. At certain stages of early culture, when all the

emanations of the body are liable to possess mysterious magic properties

and become apt for sacred uses, the excretions, and especially the urine,

are found to form part of religious ritual and ceremonial function. Even

among savages the excreta are frequently regarded as disgusting, but under

the influence of these conceptions such disgust is inhibited, and those

emanations of the body which are usually least honored become religious


Urine has been regarded as the original holy water, and many

customs which still survive in Italy and various parts of Europe,

involving the use of a fluid which must often be yellow and

sometimes salt, possibly indicate the earlier use of urine. (The

Greek water of aspersion, according to Theocritus, was mixed

with salt, as is sometimes the modern Italian holy water. J.J.

Blunt, _Vestiges of Ancient Manners and Customs_, p.

173.) Among

the Hottentots, as Kolbein and others have recorded, the medicine

man urinated alternately on bride and bridegroom, and a

successful young warrior was sprinkled in the same way. Mungo

Park mentions that in Africa on one occasion a bride sent a bowl

of her urine which was thrown over him as a special mark of honor

to a distinguished guest. Pennant remarked that the Highlanders

sprinkled their cattle with urine, as a kind of holy water, on

the first Monday in every quarter. (Bourke, _Scatalogic Rites_,

pp. 228, 239; Brand, _Popular Antiquities_, "Bride-Ales.")

Even the excreta of animals have sometimes been counted sacred.

This is notably so in the case of the cow, of all animals the

most venerated by primitive peoples, and especially in India.