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their wives' genital parts would disgust them, and that they have
never seen them.
"If the sexual parts cannot be called aesthetic, they have still a
strong charm for many passionate lovers, of both sexes, though
not often, I believe, among the unimaginative and the uneducated,
who are apt to ridicule the organs or to be repelled by them.
Many women confess that they are revolted by the sight of even a
husband's complete nudity, though they have no indifference for
sexual embraces. I think that the stupid bungle of Nature in
making the generative organs serve as means of relieving the
bladder has much to do with this revulsion. But some women of
erotic temperament find pleasure in looking at the penis of a
husband or lover, in handling it, and kissing it. Prostitutes do
this in the way of business; some chaste, passionate wives act
thus voluntarily. This is scarcely morbid, as the mammalia of
most species smell and lick each others' genitals. Probably
primitive man did the same."
Brantome (_Vie des Dames Galantes_, Discours II) has some remarks
to much the same effect concerning the difference between men,
some of whom take no pleasure in seeing the private parts of
their wives or mistresses, while others admire them and delight
to kiss them.
I must add that, however natural or legitimate the attraction of
the sexual parts may be to either sex, the question of their
purely aesthetic beauty remains unaffected.
Remy de Gourmont, in a discussion of the aesthetic element in
sexual beauty, considers that the invisibility of the sexual
organs is the decisive fact in rendering women more beautiful
than men. "Sex, which is sometimes an advantage, is always a
burden and always a flaw; it exists for the race and not for the
individual. In the human male, and precisely because of his erect
attitude, sex is the predominantly striking and visible fact, the
point of attack in a struggle at close quarters, the point aimed
at from a distance, an obstacle for the eye, whether regarded as
a rugosity on the surface or as breaking the middle of a line.
The harmony of the feminine body is thus geometrically much more
perfect, especially when we consider the male and the female at
the moment of desire when they present the most intense and
natural expression of life. Then the woman, whose movements are
all interior, or only visible by the undulation of her curves,
preserves her full aesthetic value, while the man, as it were, all
at once receding toward the primitive state of animality, seems
to throw off all beauty and become reduced to the simple and
naked condition of a genital organism." (Remy de Gourmont,
_Physique de l'Amour_, p. 69.) Remy de Gourmont proceeds,
however, to point out that man has his revenge after a woman has
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