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the sense which Mr Shand seems to desiderate. The Libido theory is a flexible hypothesis which has been modified and still is in course of undergoing modification in the light of increasing knowledge and Freud himself would claim for it no more than a high degree of heuristic value and pragmatic justification.
It should now be clear that in criticising my descriptive criterion (according to which a specific pleasure-gain termed 'libidinal' includes the phenomenon in question under the heading of sexuality) on the grounds that all normal persons do not experience it in this or that instance, Mr Shand has failed to take into account even as a possibility the cultural repression of components of the sexual instinct repugnant to the Ego.
Another important criticism is aimed at the proposition that there is a psychological identity discoverable in processes grouped as sexual. Here our difference of opinion is no doubt due to a misunderstanding.
When I postulated a psychological identity present in processes grouped as sexual, I did not mean that the processes themselves were in all respects identical. I merely meant that, inherent in each was a certain quality described as libidinal.
The technical phrase runs: "this or that sensation, activity, idea, etc., is invested with Libido, an investment which varies considerably in intensity but not in quality."
Limiting ourselves for the moment to the instance of erotogenic zones, Mr Shand considers it prima facie improbable that the sensations of any organ or zone should be identical with those of any other, and I should agree with him if this meant that they were identical in all respects. Obviously different structural and functional settings must affect the totality of the experience.
To take the case he instances, the comparison of oral and genital sensations-it is not asserted that libidinal excitation of the mouth zone (which can be recognised as such, e.g. in 'sensual' kissing) is in all respects identical with genital excitation, which is much more intense and especially in men accompanied by a different urge. It is merely asserted that in this and in all other physical experiences which when they are conscious are usually termed 'sensual' there is a quality which is termed 'libidinal' and which is derived from the sexual group of Instincts. The 'energy' giving rise to this libidinal excitation is supposed to be capable of displacement from one organ, activity, idea, etc., to others and is conceived as hypothetically measurable. The erotogenic zones are asserted to be the site, in especially high degree, of such excita
tions although cultural repression may prevent realisation of this fact, and in this case when the excitations are especially strong, pathological disturbances are liable to be set up in the zones in question, e.g. hysterical vomiting and intestinal catarrh in cases where wishes for perverse sexual use of oral and anal zones are repressed. Such disturbances can be removed by making these repressed urges conscious by a proper technique.
Mr Shand next questions the existence of libidinal excitation in erotogenic zones as it were on their own account and apart from genital excitation. He admits, although he does not explain, a 'spreading' of 'sensual' excitation from the genital zone to the mouth, but does not admit that this occurrence entitles us to describe the mouth as an erotogenic zone, making the somewhat exigent stipulation, that the erotogenicity of the mouth cannot be established till it takes place without co-incident genital excitation and that in all normal persons.
Here we apparently come to an impasse for it is the very essence of Freud's theory of Libido-organization that in normal persons the activities of pre-genital erotogenic zones become subordinated to genital activity, so that normally, except in childhood before this primacy is attained, excitation of other zones tends to set up genital excitations which on account of their stronger libido-investment dominate the sensational field although they do not, except temporarily, entirely overlay the others.
On the other hand there are innumerable cases not abnormal in other respects in which, on account of cultural inhibition of genitality, kissing under certain conditions excites consciously recognised libidinal excitation of the mouth without a trace of genital excitation.
It might be urged that despite the existence of a characteristic so widespread that some writers have described it as a normal feminine characteristic (regarding capacity for genital excitement in women as abnormal), this absence of genital excitation is abnormal and the existence of oral erotic excitation on its own account in such cases proves nothing.
This seems to me to be pushing a criterion, which is arbitrary in the first place, to a curious extreme. It is regarded as a perfectly valid experiment in physiology to throw out of action mechanisms which mask the operation of others so that the latter can be studied in isolation or to take advantage of the abrogation of the former by disease.
Here we have clear evidence that, when genital activity is inhibited by emotional factors not strictly comparable with disease, another zone exhibits libidinal characteristics on its own account. Further experi
mental evidence is not wanting for, in a case reported to me, in which a patient capable of strong genital feeling anaesthetised his genital he experienced strong libidinal excitation in other zones. Such evidence seems conclusive. Again, how does Mr Shand explain the 'spread' of excitation from an erotogenic zone to the genital? His differentiation of kisses into those devoid of 'sensual' quality accompanied by tender feeling and those of a recognisably 'sensual' sort in no way invalidates our contention that the mouth is an erotogenic zone.
It is nowhere contended that all contacts with erotogenic zones elicit conscious libidinal excitation. This is not even true of the genital zone itself, sensitive as it is to stimulation. The absence of conscious libidinal excitation in the oral zone may be explained by the weak investment of the object with libido as in a perfunctory social kiss or by the prominence in consciousness of sentiments incompatible with strong libidinal investment, as is the case in kisses between near blood relatives or persons at that time unconsciously associated with them, or simply through the intensity of another emotional setting. Precisely the same is true of genital contacts, which may be devoid of libidinal feeling, weakly invested with it or powerfully charged with it and that either with different persons or with the same person at different times. This is notably the case in women, who, for instance, may experience genital excitation with one partner and be quite anaesthetic with another or who may experience mildly 'sensuous' genital sensations comparable to Mr Shand's sensuous kiss during tenderness. Other women may, in respect of the same partner, at one time experience strong genital excitation, and at another, either mildly 'sensuous' excitation or no excitation at all. The fact that the genital is an erotogenic zone is not under dispute, yet there seems to be no difference save a dominating intensity between its reactions and those of other erotogenic zones. Cultural influences may lead to the total repression of its libidinal excitation as in anaesthesia and to less degrees of repression in which excitation corresponds to Dr Hadfield's adjective sensuous. Libidinal excitation may occur in one psychological setting and not in another, and so on. Surely the fact that certain zones can under certain circumstances behave exactly like genitals, when taken in conjunction with impressive evidence that in all investigated cases they have once behaved exactly like genitals, constitutes ample justification for so naming them and exhaustively examining their rôle in sexual and in general emotional development which turns out to be unexpectedly crucial.
The one real difference between the functioning of other erotogenic
zones and the genital zone is, that the activity of the latter may lead to Reproduction, and although Mr Shand began by agreeing with my rejection of Dr Hadfield's biological criterion, he too in the end arrives at a position indistinguishable from this. Of the genitals he says: "Their characteristic sensations and impulse are part of the means. whereby their end is achieved. It is therefore part of their function to arouse them. But the erotogenic zones have no such biological end. It is therefore not part of their function to arouse them1."
In this way the part actually played in the sexual development of Man by what we term erotogenic zones, e.g. the defeat of the 'biological end' owing to libidinal fixations on pre-genital zones leading to sterile perversions and sexually inhibiting states with the same result, can be summarily disposed of, and an obscure chapter of human development of immense theoretical and practical significance is closed ere it is begun.
Before ruling out a priori any sexual 'function' of the erotogenic zones it were surely profitable to study the actual results of their activities.
Consistent application of the descriptive criterion leads eventually to another and more important, the genetic. The manifestation in childhood of tendencies attended by psycho-physical concomitants of feebler intensity but (in the above sense) qualitatively identical with those of adult sexual satisfaction and accompanied by the same Ego-reactions of shame, guilt, etc., is beyond dispute. There is, however, much dispute as to the age at which these first manifest themselves. MacDougall, who was by no means friendly to the conception of infantile sexuality, went so far as to admit that the sexual instinct made its first feeble appearance at the age of 8. He even admitted the appearance of sexual impulses earlier than this but attributed such cases to precocious stimulation, a concession which concedes more than that able writer was aware of.
More extensive and intensive study of children and of adults whose infantile amnesias have been removed has established beyond all question the occurrence of recognisably libidinal experience from three years onwards, and recent astonishing results obtained from the analysis of even younger children show this to be a very conservative estimate; but in pushing back the genetic enquiry we come at last to a point when subjective realisation ceases to be operative and where the libidinal character of the manifestation can only be inferred by behaviouristic comparison with manifestations the libidinal nature of which has been established.
Sometimes this is unequivocal enough as in the case of infantile onanism, but, in the case of excitation of other erotogenic zones, the child's reactions although highly suggestive are not in themselves conclusive. It, however, outrages no law of genetic science to assume that excitations which will presently reveal an unmistakable libidinal character possess a libidinal component from the first. The most impressive evidence favouring this view is the following.
Just as libidinal fixations at stages of libido-organisation, the libidinal nature of which can be recalled, leads to disturbances in later psycho-sexual development, so fixations at earlier stages, which cannot be so recalled (e.g. breast gratification) lead to even graver disturbances for the same reasons. This striking fact is not realised by those who deride the idea that in the act of sucking and its substitutes there is a quality of gratification genetically continuous with all subsequent gratifications termed libidinal.
I shall confine myself, however, to an example, illustrating in the most unequivocal manner the significance of an erotogenic zone.
The patient had administered to her as a child numerous rectal enemata by a neurotic mother and could remember the 'queer' pleasurably exciting sensations aroused by this stimulation. She also remembered a similar pleasure in holding back stools. During the latency period she occasionally masturbated anally or had fantasies of anal stimulation, both activities being accompanied by the same distinctive sensations locally and bringing about only more intensely the same state of pleasurable mental excitement, now however followed by shame and guilt. In her marital life she found herself anaesthetic in the normal sexual act, but, at a later stage responded to anal coitus with strong sexual excitement, in which the genital did not participate. Thus in her sexual life the anus played the part of a genital, in all respects save biological suitability, and a rigid biological criterion would have excluded from the concept of sexuality its most unequivocal manifestation. Moreover there was continuity of distinctive experience as far back as memory could be revived.
Why could the anus take over this undeniably sexual rôle if a capacity for erotogenicity did not exist in it? The fact that this capacity for anal erotogenicity suffers in most persons the severest cultural repression, so that the bare contemplation of such a possibility arouses the strongest resistances, does not dispose of the natural inference to be drawn from this and many similar cases.
I expect that Mr Shand would dispose of the significance of such a