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Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939)


Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939) was a British doctor, sexual psychologist and Fabian.

He studied medicine at St Thomas' Hospital and joined the Fabian Society in 1883. In 1891, when still a virgin, Ellis married Edith Lees. He was interested in sexual liberation and wrote the seven volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex between 1897 and 1928. Until 1935 this work was only legally available to the medical profession. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havelock_Ellis [May 2004]

Sadomasochism [...]

Havelock Ellis, M.D., produced a groundbreaking study of sexuality: Studies of the Psychology of Sex, in which he wrote that the concept of pain is much misunderstood:

"The essence of sadomasochism is not so much "pain" as the overwhelming of one's senses - emotionally more than physically. Active sexual masochism has little to do with pain and everything to do with the search for emotional pleasure. When we understand that it is pain only, and not cruelty, that is the essential in this group of manifestations, we begin to come nearer to their explanation. The masochist desires to experience pain, but he generally desires that it should be inflicted in love; the sadist desires to inflict pain, but he desires that it should be felt as love...."

Havelock Ellis, M.D. (1926). Studies of the Psychology of Sex, F.A. Davis Company, pg. 160.

Sexual inversion

Englishman Havelock Ellis published the first edition of his Sexual Inversion as Das Konträre Geschlechtsgefühle in Leipzig, Germany because English publishers turned him away for fear of obscenity charges.  Ellis was not an invert himself, and the book is neither polemical nor salacious, but the book's many case studies gave inverts a chance to speak for themselves.  The theory that Ellis propounded - that inversion is a congenital variation but not a disease - added to the controversy.  When an English judge reviewed the book, he found it filthy and returned a guilty verdict against a man caught selling a copy to an undercover policeman. --http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/factfiles/ff1896b.htm [May 2004]

Pain and pleasure

While in men it is possible to trace a tendency to inflict pain, or the simulacrum of pain, on the women they love, it is still easier to trace in women a delight in experiencing physical pain when inflicted by a lover, and an eagerness to accept subjection to his will. Such a tendency is certainly normal. To abandon herself to her lover, to be able to rely on his physical strength and mental resourcefulness, to be swept out of herself and beyond the control of her own will, to drift idly in delicious submission to another and stronger will—this is one of the commonest aspirations in a young woman's intimate love-dreams. In our own age these aspirations most often only find their expression in such dreams. In ages when life was more nakedly lived, and emotion more openly expressed, it was easier to trace this impulse. In the thirteenth century we have found Marie de France—a French poetess living in England who has been credited with "an exquisite sense of the generosities and delicacy of the heart," and whose work was certainly highly appreciated in the best circles and among the most cultivated class of her day—describing as a perfect, wise, and courteous knight a man who practically commits a rape on a woman who has refused to have anything to do with him, and, in so acting, he wins her entire love. The savage beauty of New Caledonia furnishes no better illustration of the fascination of force, for she, at all events, has done her best to court the violence she undergoes. In Middleton's Spanish Gypsy we find exactly the same episode, and the unhappy Portuguese nun wrote: "Love me for ever and make me suffer still more." To find in literature more attenuated examples of the same tendency is easy. Shakespeare, whose observation so little escaped, has seldom depicted the adult passion of a grown woman, but in the play which he has mainly devoted to this subject he makes Cleopatra refer to "amorous pinches," and she says in the end: "The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch, which hurts and is desired." "I think the Sabine woman enjoyed being carried off like that," a woman remarked in front of Rubens's "Rape of the Sabines," confessing that such a method of love-making appealed strongly to herself, and it is probable that the majority of women would be prepared to echo that remark.

It may be argued that pain cannot give pleasure, and that when what would usually be pain is felt as pleasure it cannot be regarded as pain at all. It must be admitted that the emotional state is often somewhat complex. Moreover, women by no means always agree in the statement of their experience. It is noteworthy, however, that even when the pleasurableness of pain in love is denied it is still admitted that, under some circumstances, pain, or the idea of pain, is felt as pleasurable. I am indebted to a lady for a somewhat elaborate discussion of this subject, which I may here quote at length: "As regards physical pain, though the idea of it is sometimes exciting, I think the reality is the reverse. A very slight amount of pain destroys my pleasure completely. This was the case with me for fully a month after marriage, and since. When pain has occasionally been associated with passion, pleasure has been sensibly diminished. I can imagine that, when there is a want of sensitiveness so that the tender kiss or caress might fail to give pleasure, more forcible methods are desired; but in that case what would be pain to a sensitive person would be only a pleasant excitement, and it could not be truly said that such obtuse persons liked pain, though they might appear to do so. I cannot think that anyone enjoys what is pain to them, if only from the fact that it detracts and divides the attention. This, however, is only my own idea drawn from my own negative experience. No woman has ever told me that she would like to have pain inflicted on her. On the other hand, the desire to inflict pain seems almost universal among men. I have only met one man in whom I have never at any time been able to detect it. At the same time most men shrink from putting their ideas into practice. A friend of my husband finds his chief pleasure in imagining women hurt and ill-treated, but is too tender-hearted ever to inflict pain on them in reality, even when they are willing to submit to it. Perhaps a woman's readiness to submit to pain to please a man may sometimes be taken for pleasure in it. Even when women like the idea of pain, I fancy it is only because it implies subjection to the man, from association with the fact that physical pleasure must necessarily be preceded by submission to his will."

In a subsequent communication this lady enlarged and perhaps somewhat modified her statements on this point:—

"I don't think that what I said to you was quite correct. Actual pain gives me no pleasure, yet the idea of pain does, if inflicted by way of discipline and for the ultimate good of the person suffering it. This is essential. For instance, I once read a poem in which the devil and the lost souls in hell were represented as recognizing that they could not be good except under torture, but that while suffering the purifying actions of the flames of hell they so realized the beauty of holiness that they submitted willingly to their agony and praised God for the sternness of his judgment. This poem gave me decided physical pleasure, yet I know that if my hand were held in a fire for five minutes I should feel nothing but the pain of the burning. To get the feeling of pleasure, too, I must, for the moment, revert to my old religious beliefs and my old notion that mere suffering has an elevating influence; one's emotions are greatly modified by one's beliefs. When I was about fifteen I invented a game which I played with a younger sister, in which we were supposed to be going through a process of discipline and preparation for heaven after death. Each person was supposed to enter this state on dying and to pass successively into the charge of different angels named after the special virtues it was their function to instill. The last angel was that of Love, who governed solely by the quality whose name he bore. In the lower stages, we were under an angel called Severity who prepared us by extreme harshness and by exacting implicit obedience to arbitrary orders for the acquirement of later virtues. Our duties were to superintend the weather, paint the sunrise and sunset, etc., the constant work involved exercising us in patience and submission. The physical pleasure came in in inventing and recounting to each other our day's work and the penalties and hardships we had been subjected to. We never told each other that we got any physical pleasure out of this, and I cannot therefore be sure that my sister did so; I only imagine she did because she entered so heartily into the spirit of the game. I could get as much pleasure by imagining myself the angel and inflicting the pain, under the conditions mentioned; but my sister did not like this so much, as she then had no companion in subjection. I could not, however, thus reverse my feelings in regard to a man, as it would appear to me unnatural, and, besides, the greater physical strength is essential in the superior position. I can, however, by imagining myself a man, sometimes get pleasure in conceiving myself as educating and disciplining a woman by severe measures. There is, however, no real cruelty in this idea, as I always imagine her liking it.

"I only get pleasure in the idea of a woman submitting herself to pain and harshness from the man she loves when the following conditions are fulfilled: 1. She must be absolutely sure of the man's love. 2. She must have perfect confidence in his judgment. 3. The pain must be deliberately inflicted, not accidental. 4. It must be inflicted in kindness and for her own improvement, not in anger or with any revengeful feelings, as that would spoil one's ideal of the man. 5. The pain must not be excessive and must be what when we were children we used to call a 'tidy' pain; i.e., there must be no mutilation, cutting, etc. 6. Last, one would have to feel very sure of one's own influence over the man. So much for the idea. As I have never suffered pain under a combination of all these conditions, I have no right to say that I should or should not experience pleasure from its infliction in reality."

Another lady writes: "I quite agree that the idea of pain may be pleasurable, but must be associated with something to be gained by it. My experience is that it [coitus] does often hurt for a few moments, but that passes and the rest is easy; so that the little hurt is nothing terrible, but all the same annoying if only for the sake of a few minutes' pleasure, which is not long enough. I do not know how my experience compares with other women's, but I feel sure that in my case the time needed is longer than usual, and the longer the better, always, with me. As to liking pain—no, I do not really like it, although I can tolerate pain very well, of any kind; but I like to feel force and strength; this is usual, I think, women being—or supposed to be—passive in love. I have not found that 'pain at once kills pleasure.'"

Again, another lady briefly states that, for her, pain has a mental fascination, and that such pain as she has had she has liked, but that, if it had been any stronger, pleasure would have been destroyed.

The evidence thus seems to point, with various shades of gradation, to the conclusion that the idea or even the reality of pain in sexual emotion is welcomed by women, provided that this element of pain is of small amount and subordinate to the pleasure which is to follow it. Unless coitus is fundamentally pleasure the element of pain must necessarily be unmitigated pain, and a craving for pain unassociated with a greater satisfaction to follow it cannot be regarded as normal.

In this connection I may refer to a suggestive chapter on "The Enjoyment of Pain" in Hirn's Origins of Art. "If we take into account," says Hirn, "the powerful stimulating effect which is produced by acute pain, we may easily understand why people submit to momentary unpleasantness for the sake of enjoying the subsequent excitement. This motive leads to the deliberate creation, not only of pain-sensations, but also of emotions in which pain enters as an element. The violent activity which is involved in the reaction against fear, and still more in that against anger, affords us a sensation of pleasurable excitement which is well worth the cost of the passing unpleasantness. It is, moreover, notorious that some persons have developed a peculiar art of making the initial pain of anger so transient that they can enjoy the active elements in it with almost undivided delight. Such an accomplishment is far more difficult in the case of sorrow.... The creation of pain-sensations may be explained as a desperate device for enhancing the intensity of the emotional state."

The relation of pain and pleasure to emotion has been thoroughly discussed, I may add, by H. R. Marshall in his Pain, Pleasure, and Æsthetics. He contends that pleasure and pain are "general qualities, one of which must, and either of which may, belong to any fixed element of consciousness." "Pleasure," he considers, "is experienced whenever the physical activity coincident with the psychic state to which the pleasure is attached involves the use of surplus stored force." We can see, therefore, how, if pain acts as a stimulant to emotion, it becomes the servant of pleasure by supplying it with surplus stored force.

This problem of pain is thus one of psychic dynamics. If we realize this we shall begin to understand the place of cruelty in life. "One ought to learn anew about cruelty," said Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil, 229), "and open one's eyes. Almost everything that we call 'higher culture' is based upon the spiritualizing and intensifying of cruelty.... Then, to be sure, we must put aside teaching the blundering psychology of former times, which could only teach with regard to cruelty that it originated at the sight of the suffering of others; there is an abundant, superabundant enjoyment even in one's own suffering, in causing one's own suffering." The element of paradox disappears from this statement if we realize that it is not a question of "cruelty," but of the dynamics of pain.

Camille Bos in a suggestive essay ("Du Plaisir de la Douleur," Revue Philosophique, July, 1902) finds the explanation of the mystery in that complexity of the phenomena to which I have already referred. Both pain and pleasure are complex feelings, the resultant of various components, and we name that resultant in accordance with the nature of the strongest component. "Thus we give to a complexus a name which strictly belongs only to one of its factors, and in pain all is not painful." When pain becomes a desired end Camille Bos regards the desire as due to three causes: (1) the pain contrasts with and revives a pleasure which custom threatens to dull; (2) the pain by preceding the pleasure accentuates the positive character of the latter; (3) pain momentarily raises the lowered level of sensibility and restores to the organism for a brief period the faculty of enjoyment it had lost.

It must therefore be said that, in so far as pain is pleasurable, it is so only in so far as it is recognized as a prelude to pleasure, or else when it is an actual stimulus to the nerves conveying the sensation of pleasure. The nymphomaniac who experienced an orgasm at the moment when the knife passed through her clitoris (as recorded by Mantegazza) and the prostitute who experienced keen pleasure when the surgeon removed vegetations from her vulva (as recorded by Féré) took no pleasure in pain, but in one case the intense craving for strong sexual emotion, and in the other the long-blunted nerves of pleasure, welcomed the abnormally strong impulse; and the pain of the incision, if felt at all, was immediately swallowed up in the sensation of pleasure. Moll remarks (Konträre Sexualempfindung, third edition, p. 278) that even in man a trace of physical pain may be normally combined with sexual pleasure, when the vagina contracts on the penis at the moment of ejaculation, the pain, when not too severe, being almost immediately felt as pleasure. That there is no pleasure in the actual pain, even in masochism, is indicated by the following statement which Krafft-Ebing gives as representing the experiences of a masochist (Psychopathia Sexualis English translation, p. 201): "The relation is not of such a nature that what causes physical pain is simply perceived as physical pleasure, for the person in a state of masochistic ecstasy feels no pain, either because by reason of his emotional state (like that of the soldier in battle) the physical effect on his cutaneous nerves is not apperceived, or because (as with religious martyrs and enthusiasts) in the preoccupation of consciousness with sexual emotion the idea of maltreatment remains merely a symbol, without its quality of pain. To a certain extent there is overcompensation of physical pain in psychic pleasure, and only the excess remains in consciousness as psychic lust. This also undergoes an increase, since, either through reflex spinal influence or through a peculiar coloring in the sensorium of sensory impressions, a kind of hallucination of bodily pleasure takes place, with a vague localization of the objectively projected sensation. In the self-torture of religious enthusiasts (fakirs, howling dervishes, religious flagellants) there is an analogous state, only with a difference in the quality of pleasurable feeling. Here the conception of martyrdom is also apperceived without its pain, for consciousness is filled with the pleasurably colored idea of serving God, atoning for sins, deserving Heaven, etc., through martyrdom." This statement cannot be said to clear up the matter entirely; but it is fairly evident that, when a woman says that she finds pleasure in the pain inflicted by a lover, she means that under the special circumstances she finds pleasure in treatment which would at other times be felt as pain, or else that the slight real pain experienced is so quickly followed by overwhelming pleasure that in memory the pain itself seems to have been pleasure and may even be regarded as the symbol of pleasure.

There is a special peculiarity of physical pain, which may be well borne in mind in considering the phenomena now before us, for it helps to account for the tolerance with which the idea of pain is regarded. I refer to the great ease with which physical pain is forgotten, a fact well known to all mothers, or to all who have been present at the birth of a child. As Professor von Tschisch points out ("Der Schmerz," Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane, Bd. xxvi, ht. 1 and 2, 1901), memory can only preserve impressions as a whole; physical pain consists of a sensation and of a feeling. But memory cannot easily reproduce the definite sensation of the pain, and thus the whole memory is disintegrated and speedily forgotten. It is quite otherwise with moral suffering, which persists in memory and has far more influence on conduct. No one wishes to suffer moral pain or has any pleasure even in the idea of suffering it.

It is the presence of this essential tendency which leads to a certain apparent contradiction in a woman's emotions. On the one hand, rooted in the maternal instinct, we find pity, tenderness, and compassion; on the other hand, rooted in the sexual instinct, we find a delight in roughness, violence, pain, and danger, sometimes in herself, sometimes also in others. The one impulse craves something innocent and helpless, to cherish and protect; the other delights in the spectacle of recklessness, audacity, sometimes even effrontery.[79] A woman is not perfectly happy in her lover unless he can give at least some satisfaction to each of these two opposite longings. --Havelock Ellis, The Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 (of 6) (1927) via http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/3/6/1/13612/13612-h/13612-h.htm [Jul 2005]

see also: pleasure - pain

Violent courtship

[I]n earlier days violent courtship was viewed with approval in the European world, even among aristocratic circles. Thus in the medieval _Lai de Graelent_ of Marie de France this Breton knight is represented as very chaste, possessing a high ideal of love and able to withstand the wiles of women. One day when he is hunting in a forest he comes upon a naked damsel bathing, together with her handmaidens. Overcome by her beauty, he seizes her clothes in case she should be alarmed, but is persuaded to hand them to her; then he proceeds to make love to her. She replies that his love is an insult to a woman of her high lineage. Finding her so proud, Graelent sees that his prayers are in vain. He drags her by force into the depth of the forest, has his will of her, and begs her very gently not to be angry, promising to love her loyally and never to leave her. The damsel saw that he was a good knight, courteous, and wise. She thought within herself that if she were to leave him she would never find a better friend.

Brantome mentions a lady who confessed that she liked to be "half-forced" by her husband, and he remarks that a woman who is "a little difficult and resists" gives more pleasure also to her lover than one who yields at once, just as a hard-fought battle is a more notable triumph than an easily won victory. (Brantome, _Vie des Dames Galantes_, discours i.) Restif de la Bretonne, again, whose experience was extensive, wrote in his _Anti-Justine_ that "all women of strong temperament like a sort of brutality in sexual intercourse and its accessories."

Ovid had said that a little force is pleasing to a woman, and that she is grateful to the ravisher against whom she struggles (_Ars Amatoria_, lib. i). One of Janet's patients (Raymond and Janet, _Les Obsessions et la Psychasthenie_, vol. ii, p. 406) complained that her husband was too good, too devoted. "He does not know how to make me suffer a little. One cannot love anyone who does not make one suffer a little." Another hysterical woman (a silk fetichist, frigid with men) had dreams of men and animals abusing her: "I cried with pain and was happy at the same time." (Clerambault, _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, June, 1908, p. 442.)

It has been said that among Slavs of the lower class the wives feel hurt if they are not beaten by their husbands. Paullinus, in the seventeenth century, remarked that Russian women are never more pleased and happy than when beaten by their husbands, and regard such treatment as proof of love. (See, e.g., C.F. von Schlichtegroll, _Sacher-Masoch und der Masochismus_, p. 69.) Krafft-Ebing believes that this is true at the present day, and adds that it is the same in Hungary, a Hungarian official having informed him that the peasant women of the Somogyer Comitate do not think they are loved by their husbands until they have received the first box on the ear. (Krafft-Ebing, _Psychopathia Sexualis_, English translation of the tenth edition, p. 188.) I may add that a Russian proverb says "Love your wife like your soul and beat her like your _shuba_" (overcoat); and, according to another Russian proverb, "a dear one's blows hurt not long." At the same time it has been remarked that the domination of men by women is peculiarly frequent among the Slav peoples. (V. Schlichtegroll, op. cit., p. 23.) Cellini, in an interesting passage in his _Life_ (book ii, chapters xxxiv-xxxv), describes his own brutal treatment of his model Caterina, who was also his mistress, and the pleasure which, to his surprise, she took in it. Dr. Simon Forman, also, the astrologist, tells in his _Autobiography_ (p. 7) how, as a young and puny apprentice to a hosier, he was beaten, scolded, and badly treated by the servant girl, but after some years of this treatment he turned on her, beat her black and blue, and ever after "Mary would do for him all that she could."

That it is a sign of love for a man to beat his sweetheart, and a sign much appreciated by women, is illustrated by the episode of Cariharta and Repolido, in "Rinconete and Cortadillo," one of Cervantes's _Exemplary Novels_. The Indian women of South America feel in the same way, and Mantegazza when traveling in Bolivia found that they complained when they were not beaten by their husbands, and that a girl was proud when she could say "He loves me greatly, for he often beats me." (_Fisiologia della Donna_, chapter xiii.) The same feeling evidently existed in classic antiquity, for we find Lucian, in his "Dialogues of Courtesans," makes a woman say: "He who has not rained blows on his mistress and torn her hair and her garments is not yet in love," while Ovid advises lovers sometimes to be angry with their sweethearts and to tear their dresses.

Among the Italian Camorrista, according to Russo, wives are very badly treated. Expression is given to this fact in the popular songs. But the women only feel themselves tenderly loved when they are badly treated by their husbands; the man who does not beat them they look upon as a fool. It is the same in the east end of London. "If anyone has doubts as to the brutalities practised on women by men," writes a London magistrate, "let him visit the London Hospital on a Saturday night. Very terrible sights will meet his eye. Sometimes as many as twelve or fourteen women may be seen seated in the receiving room, waiting for their bruised and bleeding faces and bodies to be attended to. In nine cases out of ten the injuries have been inflicted by brutal and perhaps drunken husbands. The nurses tell me, however, that any remarks they may make reflecting on the aggressors are received with great indignation by the wretched sufferers. They positively will not hear a single word against the cowardly ruffians. 'Sometimes,' said a nurse to me, 'when I have told a woman that her husband is a brute, she has drawn herself up and replied: "You mind your own business, miss. We find the rates and taxes, and the likes of you are paid out of 'em to wait on us."'" (Montagu Williams, _Round London_, p. 79.)

"The prostitute really loves her _souteneur_, notwithstanding all the persecutions he inflicts on her. Their torments only increase the devotion of the poor slaves to their 'Alphonses.' Parent-Duchatelet wrote that he had seen them come to the hospital with their eyes out of their heads, faces bleeding, and bodies torn by the blows of their drunken lovers, but as soon as they were healed they went back to them. Police-officers tell us that it is very difficult to make a prostitute confess anything concerning her _souteneur_. Thus, Rosa L., whom her 'Alphonse' had often threatened to kill, even putting the knife to her throat, would say nothing, and denied everything when the magistrate questioned her. Maria R., with her face marked by a terrible scar produced by her _souteneur_, still carefully preserved many years afterward the portrait of the aggressor, and when we asked her to explain her affection she replied: 'But he wounded me because he loved me.' The _souteneur's_ brutality only increases the ill-treated woman's love; the humiliation and slavery in which the woman's soul is drowned feed her love." (Niceforo, _Il Gergo_, etc., 1897, p. 128.)

In a modern novel written in autobiographic form by a young Australian lady the heroine is represented as striking her betrothed with a whip when he merely attempts to kiss her. Later on her behavior so stings him that his self-control breaks down and he seizes her fiercely by the arms. For the first time she realizes that he loves her. "I laughed a joyous little laugh, saying 'Hal, we are quits'; when on disrobing for the night I discovered on my soft white shoulders and arms--so susceptible to bruises--many marks, and black. It had been a very happy day for me." (Miles Franklin, _My Brilliant Career_.)

It is in large measure the existence of this feeling of attraction for violence which accounts for the love-letters received by men who are accused of crimes of violence. Thus in one instance, in Chicago (as Dr. Kiernan writes to me), "a man arrested for conspiracy to commit abortion, and also suspected of being a sadist, received many proposals of marriage and other less modest expressions of affection from unknown women. To judge by the signatures, these women belonged to the Germans and Slavs rather than to the Anglo-Celts."

Neuropathic or degenerative conditions sometimes serve to accentuate or reveal ancestral traits that are very ancient in the race. Under such conditions the tendency to find pleasure in subjection and pain, which is often faintly traceable even in normal civilized women, may become more pronounced. This may be seen in a case described in some detail in the _Archivio di Psichiatria_. The subject was a young lady of 19, of noble Italian birth, but born in Tunis. On the maternal side there is a somewhat neurotic heredity, and she is herself subject to attacks of hystero-epileptoid character. She was very carefully, but strictly, educated; she knows several languages, possesses marked intellectual aptitudes, and is greatly interested in social and political questions, in which she takes the socialistic and revolutionary side. She has an attractive and sympathetic personality; in complexion she is dark, with dark eyes and very dark and abundant hair; the fine down on the upper lip and lower parts of the cheeks is also much developed; the jaw is large, the head acrocephalic, and the external genital organs of normal size, but rather asymmetric. Ever since she was a child she has loved to work and dream in solitude. Her dreams have always been of love, since menstruation began as early as the age of 10, and accompanied by strong sexual feelings, though at that age these feelings remained vague and indefinite; but in them the desire for pleasure was always accompanied by the desire for pain, the desire to bite and destroy something, and, as it were, to annihilate herself. She experienced great relief after periods of "erotic rumination," and if this rumination took place at night she would sometimes masturbate, the contact of the bedclothes, she said, giving her the illusion of a man. In time this vague longing for the male gave place to more definite desires for a man who would love her, and, as she imagined, strike her. Eventually she formed secret relationships with two or three lovers in succession, each of these relationships being, however, discovered by her family and leading to ineffectual attempts at suicide. But the association of pain with love, which had developed spontaneously in her solitary dreams, continued in her actual relations with her lovers. During coitus she would bite and squeeze her arms until the nails penetrated the flesh. When her lover asked her why at the moment of coitus she would vigorously repel him, she replied: "Because I want to be possessed by force, to be hurt, suffocated, to be thrown down in a struggle." At another time she said: "I want a man with all his vitality, so that he can torture and kill my body." We seem to see here clearly the ancient biological character of animal courtship, the desire of the female to be violently subjugated by the male. In this case it was united to sensitiveness to the sexual domination of an intellectual man, and the subject also sought to stimulate her lovers' intellectual tastes. (_Archivio di Psichiatria_, vol. xx, fasc. 5-6, p. 528.)

This association between love and pain still persists even among the most normal civilized men and women possessing well-developed sexual impulses. The masculine tendency to delight in domination, the feminine tendency to delight in submission, still maintain the ancient traditions when the male animal pursued the female. The phenomena of "marriage by capture," in its real and its simulated forms, have been traced to various causes. But it has to be remembered that these causes could only have been operative in the presence of a favorable emotional aptitude, constituted by the zooelogical history of our race and still traceable even today. To exert power, as psychologists well recognize, is one of our most primary impulses, and it always tends to be manifested in the attitude of a man toward the woman he loves.[73] --Havelock Ellis, The Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 (of 6) (1927) via http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/3/6/1/13612/13612.txt [Jul 2005]

see also: love - pain

Havelock Ellis and Studies in the Psychology of Sex at Gutenberg.org

  • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1
    The Evolution of Modesty; The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity; Auto-Erotism
  • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2
    Sexual Inversion
  • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3
    Analysis of the Sexual Impulse; Love and Pain; The Sexual Impulse in Women
  • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 4
    Sexual Selection In Man
  • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 5
    Erotic Symbolism; The Mechanism of Detumescence; The Psychic State in Pregnancy
  • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6
    Sex in Relation to Society
  • see also: psychology - sex

    Language is full of metaphorical symbols of sex >

    "When our human imagination seeks to animate artificial things," Huysmans writes in Là-bas, "it is compelled to reproduce the movements of animals in the act of propagation. Look at machines, at the play of pistons in the cylinders; they are Romeos of steel in Juliets of cast-iron." And not only in the work of man's hands but throughout Nature we find sexual symbols which are the less deniable since, for the most part, they make not the slightest appeal to even the most morbid human imagination. Language is full of metaphorical symbols of sex which constantly tend to lose their poetic symbolism and to become commonplace. Semen is but seed, and for the Latins especially the whole process of human sex, as well as the male and female organs, constantly presented itself in symbols derived from agricultural and horticultural life. The testicles were beans (fabæ) and fruit or apples (poma and mala); the penis was a tree (arbor), or a stalk (thyrsus), or a root (radix), or a sickle (falx), or a ploughshare (vomer). The semen, again, was dew (ros). The labia majora or minora were wings (alæ); the vulva and vagina were a field (ager and campus), or a ploughed furrow (sulcus), or a vineyard (vinea), or a fountain (fons), while the pudendal hair was herbage (plantaria).

    In other languages it is not difficult to trace similar and even identical imagery applied to sexual organs and sexual acts. Thus it is noteworthy that Shakespeare more than once applies the term "ploughed" to a woman who has had sexual intercourse. The Talmud calls the labia minora the doors, the labia majora hinges, and the clitoris the key. The Greeks appear not only to have found in the myrtle-berry, the fruit of a plant sacred to Venus, the image of the clitoris, but also in the rose an image of the feminine labia; in the poetic literature of many countries, indeed, this imagery of the rose may be traced in a more or less veiled manner. --Havelock Ellis, The Psychology of Sex, Volume 5 (of 6) (1927) via http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/3/6/1/13614/13614-h/13614-h.htm

    see also: language - sex - metaphor

    Studies in the Psychology of Sex

    1. Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Analysis of the Sexual Impulse, Love and Pain, the Sexual Impulse in Women [US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Havelock Ellis, M.D., produced a groundbreaking study of sexuality: Studies of the Psychology of Sex, in which he wrote that the concept of pain is much misunderstood:

      "The essence of sadomasochism is not so much "pain" as the overwhelming of one's senses - emotionally more than physically. Active sexual masochism has little to do with pain and everything to do with the search for emotional pleasure. When we understand that it is pain only, and not cruelty, that is the essential in this group of manifestations, we begin to come nearer to their explanation. The masochist desires to experience pain, but he generally desires that it should be inflicted in love; the sadist desires to inflict pain, but he desires that it should be felt as love...."

      Havelock Ellis, M.D. (1926). Studies of the Psychology of Sex, F.A. Davis Company, pg. 160.

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