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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

 

[81] It is perhaps significant that many colors are especially liable to 

produce skin disorders, especially urticaria; a number of cases have been 

recorded by Joal, _Journal de Medecine_, July 10, 1899. 

 

[82] Layet, art. "Vanillisme," _Dictionnaire Encyclopedique des Sciences 

Medicales_; cf. Audeoud, _Revue Medicale de la Suisse Romande_, October 

20, 1899, summarized in the _British Medical Journal_, 1899. 

 

[83] E. Tardif, _Les Odeurs et Parfums_, Chapter III. 

 

[84] Fere, _Societe de Biologie_, March 28, 1896. 

 

 

VI. 

 

The Place of Smell in Human Sexual Selections--It has given Place to the 

Predominance of Vision largely because in Civilized Man it Fails to Act at 

a Distance--It still Plays a Part by Contributing to the Sympathies or the 

Antipathies of Intimate Contact. 

 

 

When we survey comprehensively the extensive field we have here rapidly 

traversed, it seems not impossible to gain a fairly accurate view of the 

special place which olfactory sensations play in human sexual selection. 

The special peculiarity of this group of sensations in man, and that which 

gives them an importance they would not otherwise possess, is due to the 

fact that we here witness the decadence of a sense which in man's remote 

ancestors was the very chiefest avenue of sexual allurement. In man, even 

the most primitive man,--to some degree even in the apes,--it has declined 

in importance to give place to the predominance of vision.[85] Yet, at 

that lower threshold of acuity at which it persists in man it still bathes 

us in a more or less constant atmosphere of odors, which perpetually move 

us to sympathy or to antipathy, and which in their finer manifestations we 

do not neglect, but even cultivate with the increase of our civilization. 

 

It thus comes about that the grosser manifestations of sexual allurement 

by smell belong, so far as man is concerned, to a remote animal past which 

we have outgrown and which, on account of the diminished acuity of our 

olfactory organs, we could not completely recall even if we desired to; 

the sense of sight inevitably comes into play long before it is possible 

for close contact to bring into action the sense of smell. But the latent 

possibilities of sexual allurement by olfaction, which are inevitably 

embodied in the nervous structure we have inherited from our animal 

ancestors, still remain ready to be called into play. They emerge 

prominently from time to time in exceptional and abnormal persons. They 

tend to play an unusually larger part in the psychic lives of neurasthenic 

persons, with their sensitive and comparatively unbalanced nervous 

systems, and this is doubtless the reason why poets and men of letters 

have insisted on olfactory impressions so frequently and to so notable a 

degree; for the same reason sexual inverts are peculiarly susceptible to 

odors. For a different reason, warmer climates, which heighten all odors 

and also favor the growth of powerfully odorous plants, lead to a 


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