Irradiations of the Sexual Act

dating modest female

It is certain that very much of what is best in religion, art, and life,” remark Stanley Hall and Allin,

“owes its charm to the progressively-widening irradiation of sexual feeling. Perhaps the reluctance of the female first long-circuited the exquisite sensations connected with sexual organs and acts to the antics of animal and human courtship, while restraint had the physiological function of developing the colors, plumes, excessive activity, and exuberant life of the pairing season. To keep certain parts of the body covered, irradiated the sense of beauty to eyes, hair, face, complexion, dress, form, etc., while many savage dances, costumes and postures are irradiations of the sexual act. Thus reticence, concealment, and restraint are among the prime conditions of religion and human culture.” (Stanley Hall and Allin, “The Psychology of Tickling,” American Journal of Psychology, 1897, p. 31.)

Groos attributes the deepening of the conjugal relation among birds to the circumstance that the male seeks to overcome the reticence of the female by the display of his charms and abilities. “And in the human world,” he continues,

“it is the same; without the modest reserve of the woman that must, in most cases, be overcome by lovable qualities, the sexual relationship would with difficulty find a singer who would extol in love the highest movements of the human soul.” (Groos, Spiele der Menschen, p. 341.)

 

…Many psychologists have regarded modesty simply as the result of clothing. This view is overturned by the well-ascertained fact that many races which go absolutely naked possess a highly-developed sense of modesty…..physiological modesty is earlier in appearance, and more fundamental, than anatomical modesty. A partial contribution to the analysis of modesty has been made by Professor James, who, with his usual insight and lucidity, has set forth certain of its characteristics, especially the element due to

“the application to ourselves of judgments primarily passed upon our mates.”

Hohenemser has made a notable attempt to define the psychological mechanism of shame. (“Versuch einer Analyse der Scham,” Archiv für die Gesamte Psychologie, Bd. II, Heft 2-3, 1903). ”

He regards shame as a general psycho-physical phenomenon, “a definite tension of the whole soul,” with an emotion superadded.

The state of shame consists in a certain psychic lameness or inhibition,”

sometimes accompanied by physical phenomena of paralysis, such as sinking of the head and inability to meet the eye. It is a special case of Lipps‘s psychic stasis or damming up (psychische Stauung), always produced when the psychic activities are at the same time drawn in two or more different directions. In shame there is always something present in consciousness which conflicts with the rest of the personality, and cannot be brought into harmony with it, which cannot be brought, that is, into moral (not logical) relationship with it.

A young man in love with a girl is ashamed when told that he is in love, because his reverence for one whom he regards as a higher being cannot be brought into relationship with his own lower personality.

A child in the same way feels shame in approaching a big, grown-up person, who seems a higher sort of being.

Sometimes, likewise, we feel shame in approaching a stranger, for a new person tends to seem higher and more interesting than ourselves.

It is not so in approaching a new natural phenomenon, because we do not compare it with ourselves. Another kind of shame is seen when this mental contest is lower than our personality, and on this account in conflict with it, as when we are ashamed of sexual thoughts. Sexual ideas tend to evoke shame, Hohenemser remarks, because they so easily tend to pass into sexual feelings; when they do not so pass (as in scientific discussions) they do not evoke shame.

…..The New Georgians of the Solomon Islands, so low a race that they are ignorant both of pottery and weaving, and wear only a loin cloth,

“have the same ideas of what is decent with regard to certain acts and exposures that we ourselves have;” so that it is difficult to observe whether they practice circumcision. (Somerville, Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1897, p. 394).

In the New Hebrides

“the closest secrecy is adopted with regard to the penis, not at all from a sense of decency, but to avoid Narak, the sight even of that of another man being considered most dangerous. The natives of this savage island, accordingly, wrap the penis around with many yards of calico, and other like materials, winding and folding them until a preposterous bundle 18 inches, or 2 feet long, and 2 inches or more in diameter is formed, which is then supported upward by means of a belt, in the extremity decorated with flowering grasses, etc. The testicles are left naked.” There is no other body covering. (Somerville, Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1894, p. 368).

In the Pelew Islands, says Kubary, as quoted by Bastian, it is said that when the God Irakaderugel and his wife were creating man and woman (he forming man and she forming woman), and were at work on the sexual organs, the god wished to see his consort’s handiwork. She, however, was cross, and persisted in concealing what she had made. Ever since then women wear an apron of pandanus-leaves and men go naked. (A. Bastian, Inselgruppen in Oceanien, p. 112).

In the Pelew Islands, Semper tells us that when approaching a large water-hole he was surprised to hear an affrighted, long-drawn cry from his native friends.

“A girl’s voice answered out of the bushes, and my people held us back, for there were women bathing there who would not allow us to pass. When I remarked that they were only women, of whom they need not be afraid, they replied that it was not so, that women had an unbounded right to punish men who passed them when bathing without their permission, and could inflict fines or even death. On this account, the women’s bathing place is a safe and favorite spot for a secret rendezvous. Fortunately a lady’s toilet lasts but a short time in this island.” (Carl Semper, Die Palau-Inseln, 1873, p. 68).

 

“Among the Western Tribes of Torres Strait, Haddon states, the men were formerly nude, and the women wore only a leaf petticoat, but I gather that they were a decent people; now both sexes are prudish. A man would never go nude before me. The women would never voluntarily expose their breasts to white men’s gaze; this applies to quite young girls, less so to old women. Amongst themselves they are, of course, much less particular, but I believe they are becoming more so…. Formerly, I imagine, there was no restraint in speech; now there is a great deal of prudery; for instance, the men were always much ashamed when I asked for the name of the sexual parts of a woman.” (A. C. Haddon, “Ethnography of the Western Tribes of Torres Straits,” Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1890, p. 336).

After a subsequent expedition to the same region, the author reiterates his observations as to the “ridiculously prudish manner” of the men, attributable to missionary influence during the past thirty years, and notes that even the children are affected by it.

“At Mabuiag, some small children were paddling in the water, and a boy of about ten years of age reprimanded a little girl of five or six years because she held up her dress too high.” (Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, vol. v, p. 272).

“Although the women of New Guinea,” Vahness says,

are very slightly clothed, they are by no means lacking in a well-developed sense of decorum. If they notice, for instance, that any one is paying special attention to their nakedness, they become ashamed and turn round.”

When a woman had to climb the fence to enter the wild-pig enclosure, she would never do it in Vahness’s presence. (Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, Verhdlgen., 1900, Heft 5, p. 415).

In Australia “the feeling of decency is decidedly less prevalent among males than females;” the clothed females retire out of sight to bathe. (Curr, Australian Race.)

Except for waist-bands, forehead-bands, necklets, and armlets, and a conventional pubic tassel, shell, or, in the case of the women, a small apron, the Central Australian native is naked. The pubic tassel is a diminutive structure, about the size of a five-shilling piece, made of a few short strands of fur-strings flattened out into a fan-shape and attached to the pubic hair. As the string, especially at corrobboree times, is covered with white kaolin or gypsum, it serves as a decoration rather than a covering. Among the Arunta and Luritcha the women usually wear nothing, but further north, a small apron is made and worn.” (Baldwin Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Australia, p. 572).

Of the Central Australians Stirling says:

“No sense of shame of exposure was exhibited by the men on removal of the diminutive articles worn as conventional coverings; they were taken off coram populo, and bartered without hesitation. On the other hand, some little persuasion was necessary to allow inspection of the effect of [urethral] sub-incision, assent being given only after dismissal to a distance of the women and young children. As to the women, it was nearly always observed that when in camp without clothing they, especially the younger ones, exhibited by their attitude a keen sense of modesty, if, indeed, a consciousness of their nakedness can be thus considered. When we desired to take a photograph of a group of young women, they were very coy at the proposal to remove their scanty garments, and retired behind a wall to do so; but once in a state of nudity they made no objection to exposure to the camera.” (Report of the Horn Scientific Expedition, 1896, vol. iv, p. 37).

In Northern Queensland “phallocrypts,” or “penis-concealers,” only used by the males at corrobborees and other public rejoicings, are either formed of pearl-shell or opossum-string. The koom-pa-ra, or opossum-string form of phallocrypt, forms a kind of tassel, and is colored red; it is hung from the waist-belt in the middle line. In both sexes the privates are only covered on special public occasions, or when in close proximity to white settlements. (W. Roth, Ethnological Studies among the Northwest-Central-Queensland Aborigines, 1897, pp. 114-115).

 

 

Excerpt From: Havelock Ellis. “Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 / The Evolution of Modesty; The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity; Auto-Erotism.” iBooks.

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