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.
then it falls rapidly to considerably below the masculine curve, rising again considerably above the masculine level during the climacteric years from 40 to 50, after which age the two sexes remain fairly close together to the end of life.  Thus, as measured by the test of insanity, the curve of woman’s life, in the sudden rise and sudden fall of its sexual crisis, differs from the curve of man’s life and closely resembles the minor curve of her menstrual cycle.

The general tendency of this difference in sexual life and impulse is to show a greater range of variation in women than in men.  Fairly uniform, on the whole, in men generally and in the same man throughout mature life, sexual impulse varies widely between woman and woman, and even in the same woman at different periods.


[169] Ovid remarks (Ars Amatoria, bk. i) that, if men were silent, women would take the active and suppliant part.

[170] Ferrand, De la Maladie d’Amour, 1623, ch. ii.

[171] Tarde, Archives d’Anthropologie Criminelle, May 15, 1897.  Marro, who quotes this observation (Puberta, p. 467; in French edition, p. 61), remarks that his own evidence lends some support to Lombroso’s conclusion that under ordinary circumstances woman’s sensory acuteness is less than that of man.  He is, however, inclined to impute this to defective attention; within the sexual sphere women’s attention becomes concentrated, and their sensory perceptions then go far beyond those of men.  There is probably considerable truth in this subtle observation.

[172] A well-known gynecologist writes from America:  “Abhorrence due to suffering on first nights I have repeatedly seen.  One very marked case is that of a fine womanly young woman with splendid figure; she is a very good woman, and admires her husband, but, though she tries to develop desire and passion, she cannot succeed.  I fear the man will some day appear who will be able to develop the latent feelings.”

[173] It is curious that, while the sexual impulse in women tends to develop at a late age more frequently than in men, it would also appear to develop more frequently at a very early age than in the other sex.  The majority of cases of precocious sexual development seems to be in female children.  W. Roger Williams ("Precocious Sexual Development,” British Gynaecological Journal, May, 1902) finds that 80 such cases have been recorded in females and only 20 in males, and, while 13 is the earliest age at which boys have proved virile, girls have been known to conceive at 8.

[174] I find the same remark made by Plazzonus in the seventeenth century.

[175] Art.  “Fecondation,” Dictionnaire Encyclopedique des Sciences Medicales.

[176] This also is an ancient remark, for in the early treatise De Secretis Mulierum, once attributed to Michael Scot, it is stated, concerning the woman who finds pleasure in coitus, “cantat libenter.”

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