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Havelock Ellis

Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 / Sex in Relation to Society

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  • kwandzahas quoted2 years ago
    Numerous distinguished gynæcologists have recorded their belief that sexual excitement is a remedy for various disorders of the sexual system in women, and that abstinence is a cause of such disorders. Matthews Duncan said that sexual excitement is the only remedy for amenorrhœa; "the only emmenagogue medicine that I know of," he wrote (Medical Times, Feb. 2, 1884), "is not to be found in the Pharmacopœia: it is erotic excitement. Of the value of erotic excitement there is no doubt." Anstie, in his work on Neuralgia, refers to the beneficial effect of sexual intercourse on dysmenorrhœa, remarking that the necessity of the full natural exercise of the sexual function is shown by the great improvement in such cases after marriage, and especially after childbirth. (It may be remarked that not all authorities find dysmenorrhœa benefited by marriage, and some consider that the disease is often thereby aggravated; see, e.g., Wythe Cook, American Journal Obstetrics, Dec., 1893.) The distinguished gynæcologist, Tilt, at a somewhat earlier date (On Uterine and Ovarian Inflammation, 1862, p. 309), insisted on the evil results of sexual abstinence in producing ovarian irritation, and perhaps subacute ovaritis, remarking that this was specially pronounced in young widows, and in prostitutes placed in penitentiaries. Intense desire, he pointed out, determines organic movements resembling those required for the gratification of the desire. These burning desires, which can only be quenched by their legitimate satisfaction, are still further heightened by the erotic influence of thoughts, books, pictures, music, which are often even more sexually stimulating than social intercourse with men, but the excitement thus produced is not relieved by that natural collapse which should follow a state of vital turgescence. After referring to the biological facts which show the effect of psychic influences on the formative powers of the ovario-uterine organs in animals, Tilt continues: "I may fairly infer that similar incitements on the mind of females may have a stimulating effect on the organs of ovulation. I have frequently known menstruation to be irregular, profuse, or abnormal in type during courtship in women in whom nothing similar had previously occurred, and that this protracted the treatment of chronic ovaritis and of uterine inflammation." Bonnifield, of Cincinnati (Medical Standard, Dec., 1896), considers that unsatisfied sexual desire is an important cause of catarrhal endometritis

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