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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

THE MECHANISM OF DETUMESCENCE. 

 

I. 

 

The Psychological Significance of Detumescence--The Testis and the 

Ovary--Sperm Cell and Germ Cell--Development of the Embryo--The External 

Sexual Organs--Their Wide Range of Variation--Their Nervous Supply--The 

Penis--Its Racial Variations--The Influence of Exercise--The Scrotum and 

Testicles--The Mons Veneris--The Vulva--The Labia Majora and their 

Varieties--The Pubic Hair and Its Characters--The Clitoris and Its 

Functions--The Anus as an Erogenous Zone--The Nymphae and their 

Function--The Vagina--The Hymen--Virginity--The Biological Significance of 

the Hymen. 

 

 

In analyzing the sexual impulse we have seen that the process whereby the 

conjunction of the sexes is achieved falls naturally into two phases: the 

first phase, of tumescence, during which force is generated in the 

organism, and the second phase, of detumescence, in which that force is 

discharged during conjugation.[72] Hitherto we have been occupied mainly 

with the first phase, that of tumescence, and with its associated psychic 

phenomena. It was inevitable that this should be so, for it is during the 

slow process of tumescence that sexual selection is decided, the 

crystallizations of love elaborated, and, to a large extent, the 

individual erotic symbols determined. But we can by no means altogether 

pass over the final phase of detumescence. Its consideration, it is true, 

brings us directly into the field of anatomy and physiology; while 

tumescence is largely under control of the will, when the moment of 

detumescence arrives the reins slip from the control of the will; the more 

fundamental and uncontrollable impulses of the organism gallop on 

unchecked; the chariot of Phaethon dashes blindly down into a sea of 

emotion. 

 

Yet detumescence is the end and climax of the whole drama; it is an 

anatomico-physiological process, certainly, but one that inevitably 

touches psychology at every point.[73] It is, indeed, the very key to the 

process of tumescence, and unless we understand and realize very precisely 

what it is that happens during detumescence, our psychological analysis of 

the sexual impulse must remain vague and inadequate. 

 

From the point of view we now occupy, a man and a woman are no longer two 

highly sensitive organisms vibrating, voluptuously it may indeed be, but 

vaguely and indefinitely, to all kinds of influences and with fluctuating 

impulses capable of being directed into any channel, even in the highest 

degree divergent from the proper ends of procreation. They are now two 

genital organisms who exist to propagate the race, and whatever else they 

may be, they must be adequately constituted to effect the act by which the 

future of the race is ensured. We have to consider what are the material 

conditions which ensure the most satisfactory and complete fulfillment of 

this act, and how those conditions may be correlated with other 

circumstances in the organism. In thus approaching the subject we shall 

find that we have not really abandoned the study of the psychic aspects of 

sex. 

 

The two most primary sexual organs are the testis and the ovary; it is the 

object of conjugation to bring into contact the sperm from the testis with 

the germ from the ovary. There is no reason to suppose that the germ-cell 


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