This banner text can have markup. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Full Cord Bluegrass Podcasts. Ordinary medical practitioners and students, it is said, are far too over-burdened already to be able to master extensive treatises on an additional subject which is not obligatory. The subject of sex in its psychic and social bearings is so central, and of an import- ance now so widely recognized, if not indeed exaggerated, among the general public, that the medical man of to-day cannot fail to have it brought before him.
He cannot, like his predecessors, conventionally ignore its existence, or feel that its recognition would be resented as impertinent or indecorous. Moreover, a knowledge confined tb general anatomy, physiology, and pathology is now altogether inadequate. My own opinion is in accord with these views.
I have indeed felt that medical education displays at this point a vacuum which is altogether lamentable. In my own medical training, which began half a century ago, the psychological aspects of sex had no existence whatever.
It might be supposed that great progress has been made sinw those remote days. But I have no evidence that the progress in any country is wride- spread or pronoimced.
I hear from medical students of to-day that they receive absolutely no instruction in the psycho-physical processes of sex, their liability to disturbance, or their hygiene. Ancient super- stitions still prevail in our medical schools, and the medical students of to-day are for the most part still treated with almost the same misplaced reverence as the school children of a century ago, whom it was sometimes considered indecent to instruct in so sexual a subject as botany.
After long hesitation I have decided to prepare the little manual here presented to the reader. There is scarcely need to say that it makes no claim to supplant, or even to summarize, my larger work. It has sometimes been stated that those larger volumes deal chiefly with the pathological side of sex. That is an error. I might even claim that my Studies differed from all previous work on the subject by a main concern with the normal phenomena of sex.
The same main concern is preserved in the present book. While my experience is partly derived from the abnormal persons who have come to me from widely varied quarters, it is chiefly founded on my knowledge of normal men and women and their problems in ordinary life. At the same time I have always sought to show that no sharp bound ary -line exists between normal and abnormal. All normal persons arc a little abnormal in one direction or another, and abnormal persons are still guided by fundamental impulses similar to those felt by normal persons.
In this field we are only in the first phase — but it is a necessary and helpful phase— of regarding sex psychology as a department of natural history. If we desire more, as Freud has lately said at the end of a long career of fruitful research in the Preface to the second series of his Introductory Lectures , we meet with uncertainties on every side.
There are certain essentials with which all should be familiar. I furnish the clues to those who desire to go further and to master problems which still lie ahead, and cannot in any case be adequately dealt with in an elementary manual. Those problems stretch afar. Sexual science — sexology, as some would call it — differs, as an eminent German gynaecologist. Max Hirsch, has lately pointed out, from most other branches of the healing art by having no definitely circumscribed frontiers.
From its centre radiate beams not only into all the other departments of medicine but also into many neighbouring regions, some of these with no obvious connection with medicine. It is even concerned with the whole of human culture. It leads us to tradition and custom. It is affected by morals and religion. It is to-day a field into which many put their foot whose explorations do not always, if often, bear examination. If I have myself waited long before pre- senting, with much hesitation, a manual which seems to offer itself as a guide, I do not feel that I have waited too long.
There are many, I might add, who before accepting me as a guide will desire to know what my attitude is towards psycho-analysis, the doctrine which until recently, if not indeed still, has aroused so much dispute where questions of sexual psychology arise. A book of mine [Studies, Vol.
I would like to commend to all readers of the present book Freud's Intro- ductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis as not only the most authoritative but probably the best book for those who would confine their firsthand knowledge of psycho-analytic literature to a single volume ; even those who are opposed to the general doctrine cannot fail to find here the outcome of much wisdom and experience.
If a still briefer statement is desired it may be foimd set forth with the highest competence either in Ernest Jones's little book on Psycho- Analysis or in Professor Fliigels section on the subject in the Outline of Modern Knowledge. For those who require a concise but lucid statement of the varying attitudes of all the chief psycho-therapeutic schools I would recommend Nicole's Psychopathology.
They all have hold of some aspect of the many-sided human psyche, and, while avoiding a too indiscriminate eclecticism, we may accept whatever sound element each has to give. The selected bibliographical data furnished at the end of each section, it will be remarked, are all English, so as to be within reach of the largest number of readers. Many important works are only to be found in other languages, especially German.
The reader who is acquainted with those languages will have no difficulty in finding, through the data here furnished, such wider literature as he may require. White and Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe, and publishe by Lea and Febiger. I am obliged to the editors and publishers for permission thus to use this chapter. I have also made use of my contribution on the psychology of the normal sexual impulse to Dr. It is only necessary to remark in conclusion that Sexual Psychology as here understood means the psychology of the sexual impulse and not the differential psychology of the two sexes, which is dealt with fully in my book, Man and Woman.
Havelock Ellis. PAOB 1. Introduction i The Sexual Impulse in Youth. The young man of to-day is sometimes remarkably well informed in relation to the hterature of sex, and the young woman of to-day often approaches these subjects in an inquiring spirit and with an absence of prudery which would have seemed to her grandmother absolutely impious. Until recent years any scientific occupation with sex was usually held to indicate, if not a vicious taste, at all events an unwholesome tendency. At the present time it is among the upholders of personal and pubhc morality that the workers in sexual psychology and the advocates of sexual hygiene find the warmest support.
It can scarcely be said that until lately the medical profession has taken an active part in the extension of this movement. The pioneers, indeed — at first, nearly a century ago, in Germany and Austria, and later in other countries — have been physicians, but they were often looked at askance by their colleagues. Indeed, scarcely more can be said of sexual physiology and it is little over twenty years ago that the first really scientific and comprehensive manual of sexual physiology F.
It thus comes about that in the scientific knowledge of these matters, which for the comprehension of some cases is vitally important, the physician is often less well informed than his patient, and not seldom is the victim of false t raditions and antiquated prejudices. Religion and morality have been invoked in behalf of silence on such subjects by those who might have remembered that, even from his own standpoint, a great Father of the Church had declared that we should not be ashamed to speak of what God was not ashamed to create.
This ignorance may be even more serious when we are concerned with what was often referred to with horror as perversion. It is doubtless the patient's conscious- ness of this attitude in his doctor which leads many physicians, even of great experience, to declare that psycho- sexual anomalies are very rare and that they scarcely ever meet with them. But it must be pointed out that in this respect psychic health is not different from physical health. An exact and intelligent knowledge of the patient's abnormal condition is necessary in order to restore the normal con- dition.
We cannot bring him to the position where we desire liim to be unless we know where he at present is. Moreover, in psychic health, to an even greater extent than in physical health, the range of what may be considered normal variation is very wide. It is on these groimds that much facile and conventional advice given to psycho-sexual patients is misplaced and even mischievous. This holds good, for instance, of the advice so often given to sexually abnormal persons to marry.
Certainly in some cases such advice may be excellent. But it cannot be safely given except with fullness of knowledge and with precise reference to the conditions of the individual case. This warning holds good, indeed, of all advice in the psycho-sexual sphere.
Sex penetrates the whole person ; a man's sexual constitution is a part of his general constitu- tion. There is considerable truth in the dictum : A man is what his sex is. A man may, indeed, be mistaken concerning his own sexual nature. He may be merely passing through a youthful and temporary abnormal stage, to reach eventually a more normal and permanent condition. Or he may, by some undue reaction, have mistaken a subordinate impulse of his nature for the predominant impulse, since we are all made up of various impulses, and the sexually normal man is often a man who holds in control some abnormal impulse.
Yet in the main a man's sexual constitution is all-pervading, deep-rooted, permanent, in large measure congenital. At the same time we must be cautious in fixing the barrier between the constitutional and the acquired. We have to recognize, on the one hand, that the acquired may go much farther back than was once believed, and, on the other hand, that the constitutional is often so subtle and so obscure that it remains imdetected.
For the most part, as is too often forgotten, both sets of factors combine : the germ proves active because the soil happens to be favourable. Here, as elsewhere, the result is not due to seed alone or soil alone, but to their association. This consideration serves to control the advice which the physician may reasonably give in psycho-sexual cases, and even to restrict the influence of any guidance he may offer.
There is another reason why the sexual impulse is incom- parably less amenable to therapeutical influence than the other impulse with which it may be compared, the nutritive impulse. Certainly the sexual impulse may, within limits, be guided and controlled at will to a much greater extent than some are willing to admit.
But the sexual impulse is, to an incomparably greater degree than the nutritive impulse, held in certain paths and shut out of other paths, by traditional influences of religion, morality, and social convention. There are a few physicians who hold that these influences should be ignored.
The physician has nothing to do with morals or with conventions, they argue ; he must consider what is for his patient's good and advise him accordingly, without any regard to moral and con- ventional dictates. That, however, is a short-sighted course of action which leads to many awkward positions, to all kinds of inconsistencies, not seldom to a greater evil than the evil it is sought to cure.
For it is the special characteristic of the sexual impulse, as distinct from the nutritive impulse, that its normal gratification involves another person. It leads directly into the social sphere, into the sphere of morals. No one is entitled to seek his own good, or can be advised to seek his good, in any line of action which involves evil to other persons.
Nor, indeed, can the patient's own good, in any comprehensive and rational sense, be found in a line of action involving injury to those nearest to him, or a violation of his own conscience and convictions. The wise physician cannot afford to neglect these considerations, even though he may be fully resolved that his advice shall not be based on mere conventions. They are real and vital considerations, interwoven with the traditional social edifice in which we all live, and in innumerable cases they render it impossible for the physician to follow purely biological lines in framing his psycho-sexual therapeutics.
It may be desirable, at the same time, to point out that, while the patient's moral situation cannot be ignored, it would be a mistake to regard the moral situation as abso- lutely rigid and unchangeable. Morals are in perpetual transition. Much that is regarded as moral to-day, or at all events as permitted, was fifty years ago regarded as immoral, and was not openly permitted.