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Adler, who discusses the question at some length, decides that
the sexual needs of women are less than those of men, though in
some cases the orgasm in quantity and quality greatly exceeds
that of men. He believes, not only that the sexual impulse in
women is absolutely less than in men, and requires stronger
stimulation to arouse it, but that also it suffers from a latency
due to inhibition, which acts like a foreign body in the brain
(analogous to the psychic trauma of Breuer and Freud in
hysteria), and demands great skill in the man who is to awaken
the woman to love. (O. Adler, _Die Mangelhafte
Geschlechtsempfindung des Weibes_, 1904, pp. 47, 126 et seq.;
also enlarged second edition, 1911; id., "Die Frigide Frau,"
_Sexual-Probleme_, Jan., 1912.)
It must not, however, be supposed that this view of the natural tendency
of women to frigidity has everywhere found acceptance. It is not only an
opinion of very recent growth, but is confined, on the whole, to a few
"Turn to history," wrote Brierre de Boismont, "and on every page
you will be able to recognize the predominance of erotic ideas in
women." It is the same today, he adds, and he attributes it to
the fact that men are more easily able to gratify their sexual
impulses. (_Des Hallucinations_, 1862, p. 431.)
The laws of Manu attribute to women concupiscence and anger, the
love of bed and of adornment.
The Jews attributed to women greater sexual desire than to men.
This is illustrated, according to Knobel (as quoted by Dillmann),
by _Genesis_, chapter iii, v. 16.
In Greek antiquity the romance and sentiment of love were mainly
felt toward persons of the same sex, and were divorced from the
more purely sexual feelings felt for persons of opposite sex.
Theognis compared marriage to cattle-breeding. In love between
men and women the latter were nearly always regarded as taking
the more active part. In all Greek love-stories of early date the
woman falls in love with the man, and never the reverse. AEschylus
makes even a father assume that his daughters will misbehave if
left to themselves. Euripides emphasized the importance of women;
"The Euripidean woman who 'falls in love' thinks first of all:
'How can I seduce the man I love?"' (E.F.M. Benecke, _Antimachus
of Colophon and the Position of Women in Greek Poetry_, 1896, pp.
The most famous passage in Latin literature as to the question of
whether men or women obtain greater pleasure from sexual
intercourse is that in which Ovid narrates the legend of Tiresias
(_Metamorphoses_, iii, 317-333). Tiresias, having been both a man
and a woman, decided in favor of women. This passage was
frequently quoted down to the eighteenth century.
In a passage quoted from a lost work of Galen by the Arabian
biographer, Abu-l-Faraj, that great physician says of the
Christians "that they practice celibacy, that even many of their
women do so." So that in Galen's opinion it was more difficult
for a woman than for a man to be continent.
The same view is widely prevalent among Arabic authors, and there
is an Arabic saying that "The longing of the woman for the penis
is greater than that of the man for the vulva."
In China, remarks Dr. Coltman, "when an old gentleman of my
acquaintance was visiting me my little daughter, 5 years old, ran
into the room, and, climbing upon my knee, kissed me. My visitor
expressed his surprise, and remarked: 'We never kiss our
daughters when they are so large; we may when they are very
small, but not after they are 3 years old,' said he, 'because it
is apt to excite in them bad emotions.'" (Coltman, _The Chinese_,
1900, p. 99.)
The early Christian Fathers clearly show that they regard women
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