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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

 

A portion of the field of erotic symbolism is covered by what Binet 

(followed by Lombroso, Krafft-Ebing, and others) has termed "erotic 

fetichism," or the tendency whereby sexual attraction is unduly exerted by 

some special part or peculiarity of the body, or by some inanimate object 

which has become associated with it. Such erotic symbolism of object 

cannot, however, be dissociated from the even more important erotic 

symbolism of process, and the two are so closely bound together that we 

cannot attain a truly scientific view of them until we regard them broadly 

as related parts of a common psychic tendency. If, as Groos asserts,[3] a 

symbol has two chief meanings, one in which it indicates a physical 

process which stands for a psychic process, and another in which it 

indicates a part which represents the whole, erotic symbolism of act 

corresponds to the first of these chief meanings, and erotic symbolism of 

object to the other. 

 

Although it is not impossible to find some germs of erotic symbolism in 

animals, in its more pronounced manifestations it is only found in the 

human species. It could not be otherwise, for such symbolism involves not 

only the play of fancy and imagination, the idealizing aptitude, but also 

a certain amount of power of concentrating the attention on a point 

outside the natural path of instinct and the ability to form new mental 

constructions around that point. There are, indeed, as we shall see, 

elementary forms of erotic symbolism which are not uncommonly associated 

with feeble-mindedness, but even these are still peculiarly human, and in 

its less crude manifestations erotic symbolism easily lends itself to 

every degree of human refinement and intelligence. 

 

"It depends primarily upon an increase of the psychological 

process of representation," Colin Scott remarks of sexual 

symbolism generally, "involving greater powers of comparison and 

analysis as compared with the lower animals. The outer 

impressions come to be clearly distinguished as such, but at the 

same time are often treated as symbols of inner experiences, and 

a meaning read into them which they would not otherwise possess. 

Symbolism or fetichism is, indeed, just the capacity to see 

meaning, to emphasize something for the sake of other things 

which do not appear. In brain terms it indicates an activity of 

the higher centers, a sort of side-tracking or long-circuiting of 

the primitive energy; ... Rosetti's poem, 'The Woodspurge,' 

gives a concrete example of the formation of such a symbol. Here 

the otherwise insignificant presentation of the three-cupped 

woodspurge, representing originally a mere side-current of the 

stream of consciousness, becomes the intellectual symbol or 

fetich of the whole psychosis forever after. It seems, indeed, as 

if the stronger the emotion the more likely will become the 

formation of an overlying symbolism, which serves to focus and 

stand in the place of something greater than itself; nowhere at 

least is symbolism a more characteristic feature than as an 

expression of the sexual instinct. The passion of sex, with its 

immense hereditary background, in early man became centered often 

upon the most trivial and unimportant features.... This 


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