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disagreeable. But a little later he realized that it proceeded
from his own companion, and with this discovery the odor at once
lost its disagreeable character.
In this respect a personal odor resembles a personal touch. Two
intimate touches of the hand, though of precisely similar
physical quality, may in their emotional effects be separated by
an immeasurable interval, in dependence on our attitude toward
the person from whom they proceed.
Personal odor, in order to make its allurement felt, and not to arouse
antipathy, must, in normal persons, have been preceded by conditions which
have inhibited the play of the antisexual instinct. A certain degree of
tumescence must already have been attained. It is even possible, when we
bear in mind the intimate sympathy between the sexual sphere and the nose,
that the olfactory organ needs to have its sensibility modified in a form
receptive to sexual messages, though such an assumption is by no means
necessary. It is when such a faint preliminary degree of tumescence has
been attained, however it may have been attained,--for the methods of
tumescence, as we know, are innumerable,--that a sympathetic personal odor
is enabled to make its appeal. If we analyze the cases in which olfactory
perceptions have proved potent in love, we shall nearly always find that
they have been experienced under circumstances favorable for the
occurrence of tumescence. When this is not the case we may reasonably
suspect the presence of some degree of perversion.
In the oft-quoted case of the Austrian peasant who found that he
was aided in seducing young women by dancing with them and then
wiping their faces with a handkerchief he had kept in his armpit,
we may doubtless regard the preliminary excitement of the dance
as an essential factor in the influence produced.
In the same way, I am acquainted with the ease of a lady not
usually sensitive to simple body odors (though affected by
perfumes and flowers) who on one occasion, when already in a
state of sexual erethism, was highly excited when perceiving the
odor of her lover's axilla.
The same influence of preliminary excitement may be seen in
another instance known to me, that of a gentlemen who when
traveling abroad fell in with three charming young ladies during
a long railway journey. He was conscious of a pleasurable
excitement caused by the prolonged intimacy of the journey, but
this only became definitely sexual when the youngest of the
ladies, stretching before him to look out of the window and
holding on to the rack above, accidentally brought her axilla
into close proximity with his face, whereupon erection was
caused, although he himself regards personal odors, at all events
when emanating from strangers, as indifferent or repulsive.
A medical correspondent, referring to the fact that with many men
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