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nearly 3000, of patients entering the Turin asylum, from 1886 to 1895, in
which the age of the first appearance of insanity was known.
Summary of Conclusions.
In conclusion it may be worth while to sum up the main points brought out
in this brief discussion of a very large question. We have seen that there
are two streams of opinion regarding the relative strength of the sexual
impulse in men and women: one tending to regard it as greater in men, the
other as greater in women. We have concluded that, since a large body of
facts may be brought forward to support either view, we may fairly hold
that, roughly speaking, the distribution of the sexual impulse between the
two sexes is fairly balanced.
We have, however, further seen that the phenomena are in reality too
complex to be settled by the usual crude method of attempting to discover
quantitative differences in the sexual impulse. We more nearly get to the
bottom of the question by a more analytic method, breaking up our mass of
facts into groups. In this way we find that there are certain well-marked
characteristics by which the sexual impulse in women differs from the same
impulse in men: 1. It shows greater apparent passivity. 2. It is more
complex, less apt to appear spontaneously, and more often needing to be
aroused, while the sexual orgasm develops more slowly than in men. 3. It
tends to become stronger after sexual relationships are established. 4.
The threshold of excess is less easily reached than in men. 5. The sexual
sphere is larger and more diffused. 6. There is a more marked tendency to
periodicity in the spontaneous manifestations of sexual desire. 7. Largely
as a result of these characteristics, the sexual impulse shows a greater
range of variation in women than in men, both as between woman and woman
and in the same woman at different periods.
It may be added that a proper understanding of these sexual differences in
men and women is of great importance, both in the practical management of
sexual hygiene and in the comprehension of those wider psychological
characteristics by which women differ from men.
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