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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

THE SEXUAL IMPULSE IN WOMEN. 

 

 

A special and detailed study of the normal characters of the sexual 

impulse in men seems unnecessary. I have elsewhere discussed various 

aspects of the male sexual impulse, and others remain for later 

discussion. But to deal with it broadly as a whole seems unnecessary, if 

only because it is predominantly open and aggressive. Moreover, since the 

constitution of society has largely been in the hands of men, the nature 

of the sexual impulse in men has largely been expressed in the written and 

unwritten codes of social law. The sexual instinct in women is much more 

elusive. This, indeed, is involved at the outset in the organic 

psychological play of male and female, manifesting itself in the phenomena 

of modesty and courting. The same elusiveness, the same mocking mystery, 

meet us throughout when we seek to investigate the manifestations of the 

sexual impulse in women. Nor is it easy to find any full and authentic 

record of a social state clearly founded in sexual matters on the demands 

of woman's nature. 

 

An illustration of our ignorance and bias in these matters is 

furnished by the relationship of marriage, celibacy, and divorce 

to suicide in the two sexes. There can be no doubt that the 

sexual emotions of women have a profound influence in determining 

suicide. This is indicated, among other facts, by a comparison of 

the suicide-rate in the sexes according to age; while in men the 

frequency of suicide increases progressively throughout life, in 

women there is an arrest after the age of 30; that is to say, 

when the period of most intense sexual emotion has been passed. 

This phenomenon is witnessed among peoples so unlike as the 

French, the Prussians, and the Italians. Now, how do marriage and 

divorce affect the sexual liability to suicide? We are always 

accustomed to say that marriage protects women, and it is even 

asserted that men have self-sacrificingly maintained the 

institution of marriage mainly for the benefit of women. 

Professor Durkheim, however, who has studied suicide elaborately 

from the sociological standpoint, so far as possible eliminating 

fallacies, has in recent years thrown considerable doubt on the 

current assumption. He shows that if we take the tendency to 

suicide as a test, and eliminate the influence of children, who 

are an undoubted protection to women, it is not women, but men, 

who are protected by marriage, and that the protection of women 

from suicide increases regularly as divorces increase. After 

discussing these points exhaustively, "we reach a conclusion," he 

states, "considerably removed from the current view of marriage 

and the part it plays. It is regarded as having been instituted 

for the sake of the wife and to protect her weakness against 

masculine caprices. Monogamy, especially, is very often presented 

as a sacrifice of man's polygamous instincts, made in order to 

ameliorate the condition of woman in marriage. In reality, 

whatever may have been the historical causes which determined 

this restriction, it is man who has profited most. The liberty 

which he has thus renounced could only have been a source of 

torment to him. Woman had not the same reasons for abandoning 

freedom, and from this point of view we may say that in 

submitting to the same rule it is she who has made the 

sacrifice." (E. Durkheim, _Le Suicide_, 1897, pp. 186-214, 

289-311.) 

 

There is possibly some significance in the varying incidence of 

insanity in unmarried men and unmarried women as compared with 

the married. At Erlangen, for example, Hagen found that among 

insane women the preponderance of the single over the married is 

not nearly so great as among insane men, marriage appearing to 

exert a much more marked prophylactic influence in the case of 

men than of women. (F.W. Hagen, _Statistische Untersuchungen ueber 


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