Main  Contacts  
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

V. 

 

Summary--Fundamental Importance of Touch--The Skin the Mother of All the 

Other Senses. 

 

 

The sense of touch is so universally diffused over the whole skin, and in 

so many various degrees and modifications, and it is, moreover, so truly 

the Alpha and the Omega of affection, that a broken and fragmentary 

treatment of the subject has been inevitable. 

 

The skin is the archaeological field of human and prehuman experience, the 

foundation on which all forms of sensory perception have grown up, and as 

sexual sensibility is among the most ancient of all forms of sensibility, 

the sexual instinct is necessarily, in the main, a comparatively slightly 

modified form of general touch sensibility. This primitive character of 

the great region of tactile sensation, its vagueness and diffusion, the 

comparatively unintellectual as well as unaesthetic nature of the mental 

conceptions which arise on the tactile basis make it difficult to deal 

precisely with the psychology of touch. The very same qualities, however, 

serve greatly to heighten the emotional intensity of skin sensations. So 

that, of all the great sensory fields, the field of touch is at once the 

least intellectual and the most massively emotional. These qualities, as 

well as its intimate and primitive association with the apparatus of 

tumescence and detumescence, make touch the readiest and most powerful 

channel by which the sexual sphere may be reached. 

 

In disentangling the phenomena of tactile sensibility ticklishness has 

been selected for special consideration as a kind of sensation, founded on 

reflexes developing even before birth, which is very closely related to 

sexual phenomena. It is, as it were, a play of tumescence, on which 

laughter supervenes as a play of detumescence. It leads on to the more 

serious phenomena of tumescence, and it tends to die out after 

adolescence, at the period during which sexual relationships normally 

begin. Such a view of ticklishness, as a kind of modesty of the skin, 

existing merely to be destroyed, need only be regarded as one of its 

aspects. Ticklishness certainly arose from a non-sexual starting-point, 

and may well have protective uses in the young animal. 

 

The readiness with which tactile sensibility takes on a sexual character 

and forms reflex channels of communication with the sexual sphere proper 

is illustrated by the existence of certain secondary sexual foci only 

inferior in sexual excitability to the genital region. We have seen that 

the chief of these normal foci are situated in the orificial regions where 

skin and mucous membrane meet, and that the contact of any two orificial 

regions between two persons of different sex brought together under 

favorable conditions is apt, when prolonged, to produce a very intense 

degree of sexual erethism. This is a normal phenomenon in so far as it is 

a part of tumescence, and not a method of obtaining detumescence. The kiss 

is a typical example of these contacts, while the nipple is of special 


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