Weakness, or entire absence of the sexual feeling may be either central or peripheral. When due to old age it is physiological, and may arise from either a mental or physical source, or both; but when it is due to abuse of the sexual mechanism, or degenerative changes in either the cerebral or spinal tract, it is pathological in character. Functionally sexless persons are not at all uncommon. They are largely a product of periods, and races, characterized by intense intellectuality, luxury and refinement; in whom cerebral disturbances are most common, and psychical and anatomical degenerative processes most frequently observed. I contravene Krafft-Ebing's statement in this particular advisedly; and cite the case he quotes from Legrand du Saulle 1 as proving exactly the reverse of his own conclusion, that sexually functionless individuals are "seldom seen."3
Whether it be the result of sexual abuse in youth, congenital absence of sexual desire, or the freer habitual associations of the sexes in the life of today, it is one of the commonest experiences of the physician to be consulted by men, particularly, who profess utter indifference to sexual enticements, and complete absence of sexual feeling. Hammond records a number of cases in his work on Sexual Impotence. One of these had never masturbated, had regular night-dreams, no horror femince, nor disinclination to marry, but was totally incapable of the sexual act; another young man, with normal genitals, with erection easily induced by mechanical stimuli, with a constant craving for alcoholic indulgence, but with a loathing of the very thought of sexual intercourse, and an absolute inability to perform the act; and, if married ladies could speak on the subject, I have not the slightest doubt that they could add materially to the record, not only of husbands who are husbands only in name, but of women who never experience pleasure, nor any sexual excitement in intercourse; and who, if they bear children, beget them with the greatest repugnance and aversion.