THE difficulty which confronts every investigator of this class of sexual phenomena is sufficiently indicated in the admitted inadequacy of the caption 1 have chosen to represent this section. I am aware that the latter is unsatisfactory, and that it only imperfectly covers manifestations which are artificial only in the sense that they are unnatural; but I have chosen it as, to my mind, the best offered, by the somewhat limited capabilities of our language, to define certain sexual phenomena not included within specific psychopathic or reversed sexual bounds.
The term "auto-erotism," which Havelock Ellis applies to this group of phenomena, while sufficiently suggestive, seems faulty from the fact that it does not provide for the large element of reciprocity in many mas-turbatory acts; "self-excited love," which is the approximate meaning of the term, being simply that form of autogenous erotism which is not dependent on external stimuli, and which is perhaps limited, in an absolutely strict sense, to those exclusively psychical manifestations, of which daydreaming is the best example.
Thus, masturbation, which Ellis makes an important feature of autoerotism, may be mutual; in which case it certainly loses its autogenous character; and in the case of the "rin-no-tama," the "dildo," or the carrot or banana, when used by women in place of the male penis, while we may term the act auto-erotic, it seems to me far more rational to allude to it simply as a form of mediate masturbation.
The term " auto-erastia," which Letamendi suggested to cover the same field, is open to similar objection; and Hufeland's even vaguer caption— "geistige onanie"—meaning "the filling and heating of the imagination with voluptuous images, without unchastity of the body," besides the misuse of the word onanism in such a connection, is condemned by the fact that it only covers, and that imperfectly, a single side of the subject.
Kaan's term—"onania psychics"—falls under like condemnation, for the same cause; and Jaeger, in proposing "monosexual idiosyncrasy" to represent these phenomena, went to the other extreme, making the mere animal act of masturbation take the place of a correlated condition in which there is, unquestionably, a union of both physiological and psychological elements.
The term onanism, so commonly used in an empirical sense to cover almost all acts of a contrasexual character, and which represents simply coitus-irxterruptut, or withdrawing the penis before emission, "spilling of the seed," as the Bible very correctly puts it, must be discarded altogether; although the term "self-abuse," which has been widely used to cover the field of artificial erotism, although not specializing the sexual sense, has much more to recommend it.
On the whole, however, I think I am justified in retaining the good old word, masturbation, to represent those sexual acts in which the hand, either directly or indirectly, plays the important r61e; and in relegating all other correlated acts to such subdivisions of the general heading as the circumstances and nature of their manifestation may suggest.