Main  Contacts  
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 very complete kind of erotic symbolism is furnished by Pygmalionism or 

the love of statues.[12] It is exactly analogous to the child's love of a 

doll, which is also a form of sexual (though not erotic) symbolism. In a 

somewhat less abnormal form, erotic symbolism probably shows itself in its 

simplest shape in the tendency to idealize unbeautiful peculiarities in a 

beloved person, so that such peculiarities are ever afterward almost or 

quite essential in order to arouse sexual attraction. In this way men have 

become attracted to limping women. Even the most normal man may idealize a 

trifling defect in a beloved woman. The attention is inevitably 

concentrated on any such slight deviation from regular beauty, and the 

natural result of such concentration is that a complexus of associated 

thoughts and emotions becomes attached to something that in itself is 

unbeautiful. A defect becomes an admired focus of attention, the embodied 

symbol of the lover's emotion. 

 

Thus a mole is not in itself beautiful, but by the tendency to 

erotic symbolism it becomes so. Persian poets especially have 

lavished the richest imagery on moles (_Anis El-Ochchaq_ in 

_Bibliotheque des Hautes Etudes_, fasc, 25, 1875); the Arabs, as 

Lane remarks (_Arabian Society in the Middle Ages_, p. 214), are 

equally extravagant in their admiration of a mole. 

 

Stendhal long since well described the process by which a defect 

becomes a sexual symbol. "Even little defects in a woman's face," 

he remarked, "such as a smallpox pit, may arouse the tenderness 

of a man who loves her, and throw him into deep reverie when he 

sees them in another woman. It is because he has experienced a 

thousand feelings in the presence of that smallpox mark, that 

these feelings have been for the most part delicious, all of the 

highest interest, and that, whatever they may have been, they are 

renewed with incredible vivacity on the sight of this sign, even 

when perceived on the face of another woman. If in such a case we 

come to prefer and love _ugliness_, it is only because in such a 

case ugliness is beauty. A man loved a woman who was very thin 

and marked by smallpox; he lost her by death. Three years later, 

in Rome, he became acquainted with two women, one very beautiful, 

the other thin and marked by smallpox, on that account, if you 

will, rather ugly. I saw him in love with this plain one at the 

end of a week, which he had employed in effacing her plainness by 

his memories." (_De l'Amour_, Chapter XVII.) 

 

In the tendency to idealize the unbeautiful features of a beloved person 

erotic symbolism shows itself in a simple and normal form. In a less 

simple and more morbid form it appears in persons in whom the normal paths 

of sexual gratification are for some reasons inhibited, and who are thus 

led to find the symbols of natural love in unnatural perversions. It is 

for this reason that so many erotic symbolisms take root in childhood and 

puberty, before the sexual instincts have reached full development. It is 

for the same reason also, that, at the other end of life, when the sexual 

energies are failing, erotic symbols sometimes tend to be substituted for 


Page 3 from 5:  Back   1   2  [3]  4   5   Forward