Only quite recently I was called to treat a remarkably refined and cultured lady who, although married for ten years, had never in her life experienced sexual feeling. The act was repulsive, abhorrent to her; and with the aid of a complaisant physician, whose substitute she now desired me to become, she had succeeded hitherto in evading intercourse by making her husband believe she was physically unable to endure it. She told me frankly that, although she loved and respected her husband greatly, she would without hesitation leave him if no other way presented of evading her spousal obligations. Permitting the reader to draw his or her own conclusions as to the moral principle involved, as well as the angelic virtue necessary in a husband to successfully resist such a strain on his fidelity, I can only say I made his task as easy as I could by assuring him that she was physically unfit for sexual intercourse.
I am inclined strongly to disagree with Krafft-Ebing's statement that "among the most constant elements of self-consciousness in the individual arc the knowledge of representing a definite sexual personality, and the consciousness of desire during the period of physiological activity of the reproductive organs, to perform sexual acts corresponding with Oiat personality." 1 It may hold true to a certain extent in the case of women, with whom sentiment, much more largely than with men, enters into the sexual act; but unless love, which may be regarded as the chief corner-stone of sexual selection, be present, it will be found, I think, that, both physically and psychically, the sexual impulse responds rather to the present real than the absent hypothetical stimulus. Preferences may. of course, exist; which is but another voicing of the law of selection; but to men, at least, the maxim attributed to Franklin, that "all women are alike from the waist down," is, sexually, one of pretty general and truthful application.