Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 5

Havelock Ellis
Studies in the Psychology of Sex,
Volume 5
by Havelock Ellis

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Volume 5
(of 6), by Havelock Ellis
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Title: Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 5 (of 6)
Author: Havelock Ellis
Release Date: October 8, 2004 [eBook #13614]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland and the Project Gutenberg Online
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Erotic Symbolism The Mechanism of Detumescence The Psychic State
in Pregnancy

In this volume the terminal phenomena of the sexual process are
discussed, before an attempt is finally made, in the concluding volume,
to consider the bearings of the psychology of sex on that part of morals
which may be called "social hygiene."
Under "Erotic Symbolism" I include practically all the aberrations of
the sexual instinct, although some of these have seemed of sufficient
importance for separate discussion in previous volumes. It is highly
probable that many readers will consider that the name scarcely
suffices to cover manifestations so numerous and so varied. The term
"sexual equivalents" will seem preferable to some. While, however, it
may be fully admitted that these perversions are "sexual
equivalents"--or at all events equivalents of the normal sexual
impulse--that term is merely a descriptive label which tells us nothing
of the phenomena. "Sexual Symbolism" gives us the key to the process,
the key that makes all these perversions intelligible. In all of
them--very clearly in some, as in shoe-fetichism; more obscurely in
others, as in exhibitionism--it has come about by causes congenital,
acquired, or both, that some object or class of objects, some act or
group of acts, has acquired a dynamic power over the psycho-physical
mechanism of the sexual process, deflecting it from its normal
adjustment to the whole of a beloved person of the opposite sex. There
has been a transmutation of values, and certain objects, certain acts,
have acquired an emotional value which for the normal person they do

not possess. Such objects and acts are properly, it seems to me, termed
symbols, and that term embodies the only justification that in most
cases these manifestations can legitimately claim.
"The Mechanism of Detumescence" brings us at last to the final climax
for which the earlier and more prolonged stage of tumescence, which
has occupied us so often in these Studies, is the elaborate preliminary.
"The art of love," a clever woman novelist has written, "is the art of
preparation." That "preparation" is, on the physiological side, the
production of tumescence, and all courtship is concerned in building up
tumescence. But the final conjugation of two individuals in an
explosion of detumescence, thus slowly brought about, though it is
largely an involuntary act, is still not without its psychological
implications and consequences; and it is therefore a matter for regret
that so little is yet known about it. The one physiological act in which
two individuals are lifted out of all ends that center in self and become
the instrument of those higher forces which fashion the species, can
never be an act to be slurred over as trivial or unworthy of study.
In the brief study of "The Psychic State in Pregnancy" we at last touch
the point at which the whole complex process of sex reaches its goal. A
woman with a child in her womb is the everlasting miracle which all
the romance of love, all the cunning devices of tumescence and
detumescence, have been invented to make manifest. The psychic state
of the woman who thus occupies the supreme position which life has to
offer cannot fail to be of exceeding interest from many points of view,
and not least because the maternal instinct is one of the elements even
of love between the sexes. But the psychology of pregnancy is full of
involved problems, and here again, as so often in the wide field we
have traversed, we stand at the threshold of a door it is not yet given us
to pass.
Carbis Water, Lelant, Cornwall.

The Definition of Erotic Symbolism. Symbolism of Act and
Symbolism of Object. Erotic Fetichism. Wide Extension of the
Symbols of Sex. The Immense Variety of Possible Erotic Fetiches. The
Normal Foundations of Erotic Symbolism. Classification of the
Phenomena. The Tendency to Idealize the Defects of a Beloved Person.
Stendhal's "Crystallization".
Foot-fetichism and Shoe-fetichism.
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