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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

human beings it may be said that the process is never completed without 

the aid of such stimuli, for even in the auto-erotic sphere external 

stimuli are still active, either actually or in imagination. 

 

The chief stimuli which influence tumescence and thus direct sexual choice 

come chiefly--indeed, exclusively--through the four senses of touch, 

smell, hearing, and sight. All the phenomena of sexual selection, so far 

as they are based externally, act through these four senses.[1] The 

reality of the influence thus exerted may be demonstrated statistically 

even in civilized man, and it has been shown that, as regards, for 

instance, eye-color, conjugal partners differ sensibly from the unmarried 

persons by whom they are surrounded. When, therefore, we are exploring the 

nature of the influence which stimuli, acting through the sensory 

channels, exert on the strength and direction of the sexual impulse, we 

are intimately concerned with the process by which the actual form and 

color, not alone of living things generally, but of our own species, have 

been shaped and are still being shaped. At the same time, it is probable, 

we are exploring the mystery which underlies all the subtle appreciations, 

all the emotional undertones, which are woven in the web of the whole 

world as it appeals to us through those sensory passages by which alone it 

can reach us. We are here approaching, therefore, a fundamental subject of 

unsurpassable importance, a subject which has not yet been accurately 

explored save at a few isolated points and one which it is therefore 

impossible to deal with fully and adequately. Yet it cannot be passed 

over, for it enters into the whole psychology of the sexual instinct. 

 

Of the four senses--touch, smell, hearing, and sight--with which we are 

here concerned, touch is the most primitive, and it may be said to be the 

most important, though it is usually the last to make its appeal felt. 

Smell, which occupies the chief place among many animals, is of 

comparatively less importance, though of considerable interest, in man; it 

is only less intimate and final than touch. Sight occupies an intermediate 

position, and on this account, and also on account of the very great part 

played by vision in life generally as well as in art, it is the most 

important of all the senses from the human sexual point of view. Hearing, 

from the same point of view, is the most remote of all the senses in its 

appeal to the sexual impulse, and on that account it is, when it 

intervenes, among the first to make its influence felt. 

 

FOOTNOTES: 

 

[1] Taste must, I believe, be excluded, for if we abstract the parts of 

touch and smell, even in those abnormal sexual acts in which it may seem 

to be affected, taste could scarcely have any influence. Most of our 

"tasting," as Waller puts it, is done by the nose, which, in man, is in 

specially close relationship, posteriorly, with the mouth. There are at 


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