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.

It seems possible that, if the sexual impulse had no existence, all men would regard women with this horror feminae.  As things are, however, at all events in civilization, sexual emotions begin to develop even earlier, usually, than acquaintance with the organs of the other sex begins; so that this disgust is inhibited.  If, however, among savages the sexual impulse is habitually weak, and only aroused to strength under the impetus of powerful stimuli, often acting periodically, then we should expect the horror to be a factor of considerable importance.

The weakness of the physical sexual impulse among savages is reflected in the psychic sphere.  Many writers have pointed out that love plays but a small part in their lives.  They practise few endearments; they often only kiss children (Westermarck notes that sexual love is far less strong than parental love); love-poems are among some primitive peoples few (mostly originating with the women), and their literature often gives little or no attention to passion.[192] Affection and devotion are, however, often strong, especially in savage women.

It is not surprising that jealousy should often, though not by any means invariably, be absent, both among men and among women.  Among savages this is doubtless a proof of the weakness of the sexual impulse.  Spencer and Gillen note the comparative absence of jealousy in men among the Central Australian tribes they studied.[193] Negresses, it is said by a French army surgeon in his Untrodden Fields of Anthropology, do not know what jealousy is, and the first wife will even borrow money to buy the second wife.  Among a much higher race, the women in a Korean household, it is said, live together happily, as an almost invariable rule, though it appears that this was not always the case among a polygamous people of European race, the Mormons.

The tendency of the sexual instinct in savages to periodicity, to seasonal manifestations, I do not discuss here, as I have dealt with it in the first volume of these Studies.[194] It has, however, a very important bearing on this subject.  Periodicity of sexual manifestations is, indeed, less absolute in primitive man than in most animals, but it is still very often quite clearly marked.  It is largely the occurrence of these violent occasional outbursts of the sexual instinct—­during which the organic impulse to tumescence becomes so powerful that external stimuli are no longer necessary—­that has led to the belief in the peculiar strength of the impulse in savages.[195]

FOOTNOTES: 

[181] Thus, Lubbock (Lord Avebury), in the Origin of Civilization, fifth edition, 1889, brings forward a number of references in evidence of this belief.  More recently Finck, in his Primitive Love and Love-stories, 1899, seeks to accumulate data in favor of the unbounded licentiousness of savages.  He admits, however, that a view of the matter opposed to his own is now tending to prevail.

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