Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1

Havelock Ellis
Studies in the Psychology of Sex,
Volume 1
by Havelock Ellis

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Volume 1
(of 6), by Havelock Ellis
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Title: Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 (of 6)
Author: Havelock Ellis
Release Date: October 8, 2004 [eBook #13610]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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The Evolution of Modesty The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity

The origin of these Studies dates from many years back. As a youth I
was faced, as others are, by the problem of sex. Living partly in an
Australian city where the ways of life were plainly seen, partly in the
solitude of the bush, I was free both to contemplate and to meditate
many things. A resolve slowly grew up within me: one main part of my
life-work should be to make clear the problems of sex.
That was more than twenty years ago. Since then I can honestly say
that in all that I have done that resolve has never been very far from my
thoughts. I have always been slowly working up to this central problem;
and in a book published some three years ago--Man and Woman: a
Study of Human Secondary Sexual Characters--I put forward what was,
in my own eyes, an introduction to the study of the primary questions
of sexual psychology.
Now that I have at length reached the time for beginning to publish my
results, these results scarcely seem to me large. As a youth, I had hoped

to settle problems for those who came after; now I am quietly content if
I do little more than state them. For even that, I now think, is much; it
is at least the half of knowledge. In this particular field the evil of
ignorance is magnified by our efforts to suppress that which never can
be suppressed, though in the effort of suppression it may become
perverted. I have at least tried to find out what are the facts, among
normal people as well as among abnormal people; for, while it seems to
me that the physician's training is necessary in order to ascertain the
facts, the physician for the most part only obtains the abnormal facts,
which alone bring little light. I have tried to get at the facts, and, having
got at the facts, to look them simply and squarely in the face. If I
cannot perhaps turn the lock myself, I bring the key which can alone in
the end rightly open the door: the key of sincerity. That is my one
panacea: sincerity.
I know that many of my friends, people on whose side I, too, am to be
found, retort with another word: reticence. It is a mistake, they say, to
try to uncover these things; leave the sexual instincts alone, to grow up
and develop in the shy solitude they love, and they will be sure to grow
up and develop wholesomely. But, as a matter of fact, that is precisely
what we can not and will not ever allow them to do. There are very few
middle-aged men and women who can clearly recall the facts of their
lives and tell you in all honesty that their sexual instincts have
developed easily and wholesomely throughout. And it should not be
difficult to see why this is so. Let my friends try to transfer their
feelings and theories from the reproductive region to, let us say, the
nutritive region, the only other which can be compared to it for
importance. Suppose that eating and drinking was never spoken of
openly, save in veiled or poetic language, and that no one ever ate food
publicly, because it was considered immoral and immodest to reveal
the mysteries of this natural function. We know what would occur. A
considerable proportion of the community, more especially the more
youthful members, possessed by an instinctive and legitimate curiosity,
would concentrate their thoughts on the subject. They would have so
many problems to puzzle over: How often ought I to eat? What ought I
to eat? Is it wrong to eat fruit, which I like? Ought I
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