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Table of contents
PREFACE
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-1.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-1.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.4
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-2.5
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.4
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-3.5
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-4.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.1
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.2
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-5.3
EROTIC SYMBOLISM-6
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.3
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-1.4
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.3
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-2.4
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-3.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-3.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.1
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.2
THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE-4.3
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-1
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-2
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-3
THE PSYCHIC STATE IN PREGNANCY-4
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-1.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-1.2
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-2.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-2.2
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-3-4
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-5.1
HISTORIES OF SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY-5.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

STUDIES IN THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SEX, VOLUME V 

 

Erotic Symbolism 

The Mechanism of Detumescence 

The Psychic State in Pregnancy 

 

by 

 

HAVELOCK ELLIS 

 

1927 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREFACE. 

 

 

In this volume the terminal phenomena of the sexual process are discussed, 

before an attempt is finally made, in the concluding volume, to consider 

the bearings of the psychology of sex on that part of morals which may be 

called "social hygiene." 

 

Under "Erotic Symbolism" I include practically all the aberrations of the 

sexual instinct, although some of these have seemed of sufficient 

importance for separate discussion in previous volumes. It is highly 

probable that many readers will consider that the name scarcely suffices 

to cover manifestations so numerous and so varied. The term "sexual 

equivalents" will seem preferable to some. While, however, it may be fully 

admitted that these perversions are "sexual equivalents"--or at all events 

equivalents of the normal sexual impulse--that term is merely a 

descriptive label which tells us nothing of the phenomena. "Sexual 

Symbolism" gives us the key to the process, the key that makes all these 

perversions intelligible. In all of them--very clearly in some, as in 

shoe-fetichism; more obscurely in others, as in exhibitionism--it has come 

about by causes congenital, acquired, or both, that some object or class 

of objects, some act or group of acts, has acquired a dynamic power over 

the psycho-physical mechanism of the sexual process, deflecting it from 

its normal adjustment to the whole of a beloved person of the opposite 

sex. There has been a transmutation of values, and certain objects, 

certain acts, have acquired an emotional value which for the normal person 

they do not possess. Such objects and acts are properly, it seems to me, 

termed symbols, and that term embodies the only justification that in most 

cases these manifestations can legitimately claim. 

 

"The Mechanism of Detumescence" brings us at last to the final climax for 

which the earlier and more prolonged stage of tumescence, which has 

occupied us so often in these _Studies_, is the elaborate preliminary. 

"The art of love," a clever woman novelist has written, "is the art of 

preparation." That "preparation" is, on the physiological side, the 

production of tumescence, and all courtship is concerned in building up 

tumescence. But the final conjugation of two individuals in an explosion 

of detumescence, thus slowly brought about, though it is largely an 

involuntary act, is still not without its psychological implications and 

consequences; and it is therefore a matter for regret that so little is 

yet known about it. The one physiological act in which two individuals are 

lifted out of all ends that center in self and become the instrument of 

those higher forces which fashion the species, can never be an act to be 

slurred over as trivial or unworthy of study. 

 

In the brief study of "The Psychic State in Pregnancy" we at last touch 

the point at which the whole complex process of sex reaches its goal. A 

woman with a child in her womb is the everlasting miracle which all the 

romance of love, all the cunning devices of tumescence and detumescence, 

have been invented to make manifest. The psychic state of the woman who 


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