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Table of contents
CONTENTS
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-1
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-2
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-3
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-4
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-5
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-6
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-7
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-8
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-9
ANALYSIS OF THE SEXUAL IMPULSE-10
FOOTNOTES
LOVE AND PAIN-1.1
LOVE AND PAIN-1.2
LOVE AND PAIN-1.3
LOVE AND PAIN-1.4
LOVE AND PAIN-1.5
LOVE AND PAIN-1.6
LOVE AND PAIN-2.1
LOVE AND PAIN-2.2
LOVE AND PAIN-2.3
LOVE AND PAIN-2.4
LOVE AND PAIN-3.1
LOVE AND PAIN-3.2
LOVE AND PAIN-3.3
LOVE AND PAIN-3.4
LOVE AND PAIN-4
LOVE AND PAIN-5.1
LOVE AND PAIN-5.2
LOVE AND PAIN-6.1
LOVE AND PAIN-6.2
LOVE AND PAIN-7
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-1.1
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-1.2
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-1.3
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-1.4
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-1.5
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-1.6
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-2.1
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-2.2
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-2.3
THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN-3
APPENDIX A-1
APPENDIX A-2-3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3-4-5-6-7
APPENDIX B HISTORY-8-9-10
APPENDIX B HISTORY-11-12
APPENDIX B HISTORY-13
APPENDIX B HISTORY-14-15
APPENDIX B HISTORY-16
APPENDIX B HISTORY-17
APPENDIX B HISTORY-18
APPENDIX B HISTORY-19
INDEX OF AUTHORS

motor influences may spread to related muscles; the convulsion of 

laughter, for instance, seems to be often in relation with the sexual 

center, and Groos has suggested that the laughter which, especially in the 

sexually minded, often follows allusions to the genital sphere is merely 

an effort to dispel nascent sexual excitement by liberating an explosion 

of nervous energy in another direction.[57] Nervous discharges tend to 

spread, or to act vicariously, because the motor centers are more or less 

connected.[58] Of all the physiological motor explosions, the sexual 

orgasm, or detumescence, is the most massive, powerful, and overwhelming. 

So volcanic is it that to the ancient Greek philosophers it seemed to be a 

minor kind of epilepsy. The relief of detumescence is not merely the 

relief of an evacuation; it is the discharge, by the most powerful 

apparatus for nervous explosion in the body, of the energy accumulated and 

stored up in the slow process of tumescence, and that discharge 

reverberates through all the nervous centers in the organism. 

 

"The sophist of Abdera said that coitus is a slight fit of 

epilepsy, judging it to be an incurable disease." (Clement of 

Alexandria, _Paedagogus_, bk. ii, chapter x.) And Coelius 

Aurelianus, one of the chief physicians of antiquity, said that 

"coitus is a brief epilepsy." Fere has pointed out that both 

these forms of nervous storm are sometimes accompanied by similar 

phenomena, by subjective sensations of sight or smell, for 

example; and that the two kinds of discharge may even be 

combined. (Fere, _Les Epileptiques_, pp. 283-84; also "Exces 

Veneriens et Epilepsie," _Comptes-rendus de la Societe de 

Biologie_, April 3, 1897, and the same author's _Instinct 

Sexuel_, pp. 209, 221, and his "Priapisme Epileptique," _La 

Medecine Moderne_, February 4, 1899.) The epileptic convulsion in 

some cases involves the sexual mechanism, and it is noteworthy 

that epilepsy tends to appear at puberty. In modern times even so 

great a physician as Boerhaave said that coitus is a "true 

epilepsy," and more recently Roubaud, Hammond, and Kowalevsky 

have emphasized the resemblance between coitus and epilepsy, 

though without identifying the two states. Some authorities have 

considered that coitus is a cause of epilepsy, but this is denied 

by Christian, Struempell, and Loewenfeld. (Loewenfeld, _Sexualleben 

und Nervenleiden_, 1899, p. 68.) Fere has recorded the case of a 

youth in whom the adoption of the practice of masturbation, 

several times a day, was followed by epileptic attacks which 

ceased when masturbation was abandoned. (Fere, _Comptes-rendus de 

la Socitete de Biologie_, April 3, 1897.) 

 

It seems unprofitable at present to attempt any more fundamental analysis 

of the sexual impulse. Beaunis, in the work already quoted, vaguely 

suggests that we ought possibly to connect the sexual excitation which 

leads the male to seek the female with chemical action, either exercised 

directly on the protoplasm of the organism or indirectly by the 

intermediary of the nervous system, and especially by smell in the higher 

animals. Clevenger, Spitzka, Kiernan, and others have also regarded the 

sexual impulse as protoplasmic hunger, tracing it back to the presexual 

times when one protozoal form absorbed another. In the same way Joanny 

Roux, insisting that the sexual need is a need of the whole organism, and 

that "we love with the whole of our body," compares the sexual instinct to 

hunger, and distinguishes between "sexual hunger" affecting the whole 

system and "sexual appetite" as a more localized desire; he concludes that 

the sexual need is an aspect of the nutritive need.[59] Useful as these 

views are as a protest against too crude and narrow a conception of the 

part played by the sexual impulse, they carry us into a speculative region 

where proof is difficult. 

 


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