The most striking sexual manifestation of these women is that known as sapphism, or lesbian love. Notwithstanding the very general belief that sapphism, so called from the Greek poetess, Sappho, who is said to have practised it in Lesbos, is associated with cunnilingus, or tickling the clitoris with the tongue,—in lambendo lingua alterius,—I am inclined to believe that the latter practice is, for the most part, only resorted to, as in other forms of sexual inversion, during the climax of passion.
The act is so horribly repulsive, if only to the aesthetic sense, that it is difficult to conceive of its being made the basis of premeditated or regular intercourse; and yet, since recent investigation has discredited the theory that partial, or complete, hermaphroditism enters into these lesbian relationships, and that intercourse is had by means of a greatly enlarged clitoris, it seems quite probable that the lingual method is far commoner than supposed; and that Kraussold's statement concerning mutual masturbation as a basis of gratification, is greatly modified by actual facts.'
That a large sentimental and psychical interest is involved in these attachments is shown by the intense jealousies which frequently accompany them; many cases being recorded where the sexual delusion attained such a degree of reality as to produce the idea that children, even, had been horn of the unnatural relation.1
Not infrequently, as Parent-Duchatelet well observes, are the disgusting acts of too amorous, or partially inverted, males responsible for these female abnormalities; the latter being led by such perverse acts as intercourse between the breasts, the thighs, in the arm-pits, and upon other portions of the body, to regard all deviations from the normal as more or less justifiable; and to seek in lesbian intercourse escape from the more brutal features of the other.
In all our large cities are female prostitutes who publicly advertise themselves as devotees of this vice; and it is a matter of curious observation that the regular prostitutes hate and despise this class of women, iust as normal men do Dfiderasts. or urnuiffs.