Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 534 pages of information about Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3.
with the ergograph are instructive from the present point of view:  “Although sensibility diminishes in the course of fatigue,” Fere found that “there are periods during which the excitability increases before it disappears.  As fatigue increases, the perception of the intercurrent excitation is retarded; an odor is perceived as exciting before it is perceived as a differentiated sensation; the most fetid odors arouse feelings of well-being before being perceived as odors, and their painful quality only appears afterward, or is not noticed at all.”  And after recording a series of results with the ergograph obtained under the stimulus of unpleasant odors he remarks:  “We are thus struck by two facts:  the diminution of work during painful excitation, and its increase when the excitation has ceased.  When the effects following the excitation have disappeared the diminution is more rapid than in the ordinary state.  When the fatigue is manifested by a notable diminution, if the same excitation is brought into action again, no diminution is produced, but a more or less durable increase, exactly as though there had been an agreeable excitation.  Moreover, the stimulus which appears painful in a state of repose loses that painful character either partially or completely when acting on the same subject in a more and more fatigued state.”  Fere defines a painful stimulus as a strong excitation which causes displays of energy which the will cannot utilize; when, as a result of diminished sensibility, the excitants are attenuated, the will can utilize them, and so there is no pain.[153] These experiments had no reference to the sexual instinct, but it will be seen at once that they have an extremely significant bearing on the subject before us, for they show us the mechanism of the process by which in an abnormal organism pain becomes a sexual stimulant.

FOOTNOTES: 

[136] Erasmus Darwin, Zooenomia, vol. i, p. 496.

[137] K. Groos, Spiele der Menschen, pp. 200-210.

[138] Hirn, Origins of Art, p. 54.  Reference may here perhaps be made to the fact that unpleasant memories persist in women more than in men (American Journal of Psychology, 1899, p. 244).  This had already been pointed out by Coleridge.  “It is a remark that I have made many times,” we find it said in one of his fragments (Anima Poetae, p. 89), “and many times, I guess, shall repeat, that women are infinitely fonder of clinging to and beating about, hanging upon and keeping up, and reluctantly letting fall any doleful or painful or unpleasant subject, than men of the same class and rank.”

[139] Groos, Spiele der Thiere, p. 251.  Maeder (Jahrbuch fuer Psychoanalytische Forschungen, 1909, vol. i, p. 149) mentions an epileptic girl of 22 who masturbates when she is in a rage with anyone.

[140] Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, English translation of tenth edition, p. 78.

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