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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 normal pleasures of sex. It is for this reason, again, that both men 

and women whose normal energies are inhibited sometimes find the symbols 

of sexual gratification in the caresses of children. 

 

The case of a schoolmistress recorded by Penta instructively 

shows how an erotic symbolism of this last kind may develop by no 

means as a refinement of vice, but as the one form in which 

sexual gratification becomes possible when normal gratification 

has been pathologically inhibited. F.R., aged 48, schoolmistress; 

she was some years ago in an asylum with religious mania, but 

came out well in a few months. At the age of 12 she had first 

experienced sexual excitement in a railway train from the jolting 

of the carriage. Soon after she fell in love with a youth who 

represented her ideal and who returned her affection. When, 

however, she gave herself to him, great was her disillusion and 

surprise to find that the sexual act which she had looked forward 

to could not be accomplished, for at the first contact there was 

great pain and spasmodic resistance of the vagina. There was a 

condition of vaginismus. After repeated attempts on subsequent 

occasions her lover desisted. Her desire for intercourse 

increased, however, rather than diminished, and at last she was 

able to tolerate coitus, but the pain was so great that she 

acquired a horror of the sexual embrace and no longer sought it. 

Having much will power, she restrained all erotic impulses during 

many years. It was not until the period of the menopause that the 

long repressed desires broke out, and at last found a symbolical 

outlet that was no longer normal, but was felt to supply a 

complete gratification. She sought the close physical contact of 

the young children in her care. She would lie on her bed naked, 

with two or three naked children, make them suck her breasts and 

press them to every part of her body. Her conduct was discovered 

by means of other children who peeped through the keyhole, and 

she was placed under Penta for treatment. In this case the loss 

of moral and mental inhibition, due probably to troubles of the 

climacteric, led to indulgence, under abnormal conditions, in 

those primitive contacts which are normally the beginning of 

love, and these, supported by the ideal image of the early lover, 

constituted a complete and adequate symbol of natural love in a 

morbidly perverted individual. (P. Penta, _Archivio delle 

Psicopatie Sessuali_, January, 1896.) 

 

 

FOOTNOTES: 

 

[1] The term "erotic symbolism" has already been employed by Eulenburg 

(_Sexuale Neuropathie_, 1895, p. 101). It must be borne in mind that this 

term, implying the specific emotion, is much narrower than the term 

"sexual symbolism," which may be used to designate a great variety of 

ritual and social practices which have played a part in the evolution of 

civilization. 

 

[2] _Sexual Selection in Man_, iv, "Vision." 

 

[3] K. Groos, _Der AEsthetische Genuss_, p. 122. The psychology of the 

associations of contiguity and resemblance through which erotic symbolism 

operates its transference is briefly discussed by Ribot in the _Psychology 


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