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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

in Darwin's mind of two quite distinct theories, neither of them fully 

developed, as to the psychological meaning of the facts he was collecting. 

The two following groups of extracts will serve to show this very 

conclusively: "The lower animals have a sense of beauty," he declares, 

"powers of discrimination and taste on the part of the female" (p. 

211[21]); "the females habitually or occasionally prefer the more 

beautiful males," "there is little improbability in the females of insects 

appreciating beauty in form or color" (p. 329); he speaks of birds as the 

most "esthetic" of all animals excepting man, and adds that they have 

"nearly the same taste for the beautiful as we have" (p. 359); he remarks 

that a change of any kind in the structure or color of the male bird 

"appears to have been admired by the female" (p. 385). He speaks of the 

female Argus pheasant as possessing "this almost human degree of taste." 

Birds, again, "seem to have some taste for the beautiful both in color and 

sound," and "we ought not to feel too sure that the female does not attend 

to each detail of beauty" (p. 421). Novelty, he says, is "admired by birds 

for its own sake" (p. 495). "Birds have fine powers of discrimination and 

in some few instances it can be shown that they have a taste for the 

beautiful" (p. 496). The "esthetic capacity" of female animals has been 

advanced by exercise just as our own taste has improved (p. 616). On the 

other hand, we find running throughout the book quite another idea. Of 

cicadas he tells us that it is probable that, "like female birds, they are 

excited or allured by the male with the most attractive voice" (p. 282); 

and, coming to _Locustidae_, he states that "all observers agree that the 

sounds serve either to call or excite the mute females" (p. 283). Of birds 

he says, "I am led to believe that the females prefer or are most excited 

by the more brilliant males" (p. 316). Among birds also the males 

"endeavor to charm or excite their mates by love-notes," etc., and "the 

females are excited by certain males, and thus unconsciously prefer them" 

(p. 367), while ornaments of all kinds "apparently serve to excite, 

attract, or fascinate the female" (p. 394). In a supplemental note, also, 

written in 1876, five years after the first publication of the _Descent of 

Man_, and therefore a late statement of his views, Darwin remarks that "no 

supporter of the principle of sexual selection believes that the females 

select particular points of beauty in the males; they are merely excited 

or attracted in a greater degree by one male than by another, and this 

seems often to depend, especially with birds, on brilliant coloring" (p. 

623). Thus, on the one hand, Darwin interprets the phenomena as involving 

a real esthetic element, a taste for the beautiful; on the other hand, he 

states, without apparently any clear perception that the two views are 

quite distinct, that the colors and sounds and other characteristics of 

the male are not an appeal to any esthetic sense of the female, but an 

appeal to her sexual emotions, a stimulus to sexual excitement, an 

allurement to sexual contact. According to the first theory, the female 

admires beauty, consciously or unconsciously, and selects the most 

beautiful partner[22]; according to the second theory, there is no 

esthetic question involved, but the female is unconsciously influenced by 

the most powerful or complex organic stimulus to which she is subjected. 

There can be no question that it is the second, and not the first, of 

these two views which we are justified in accepting. Darwin, it must be 

remembered, was not a psychologist, and he lived before the methods of 

comparative psychology had begun to be developed; had he written twenty 

years later we may be sure he would never have used so incautiously some 

of the vague and hazardous expressions I have quoted. He certainly injured 

his theory of sexual selection by stating it in too anthropomorphic 


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