The Psychology of Sex
EROTIC SEXUALISM AND THE BRAIN. There is a sexological quip that what goes on between the legs is equalled in importance by what goes on between the ears. All knowledge of brain and behavior, and not only of brain and sexual behavior, is still woefully inadequate, despite steady advances in laboratory animal studies and in the investigation of human clinical syndromes.
From studies of spinal cord injuries in which the cord is completely severed, it is known that the genitalia can function in a partial and disjunctive way on a reflex basis, without connections back and forth to the brain. The condition is known as paraplegia. It involves total paralysis of and loss of sensory feeling from the waist down, loss of continence, and other health problems. Whatever reflex responses the genitals may make to local stimulation, the paraplegic man or woman is unaware of what is happening except by viewing it or palpating it with the hands. Loss of temperature regulation typically renders males sterile, whereas females are capable of pregnancy and delivery. Intercourse is gymnastically very difficult to accomplish. The patient may experiece orgasm – a phantom orgasm – in dreams. Otherwise the experience of orgasm as formerly known is lost. The upper part of the body which is sensorily intact may partly compensate for genital orgasmic loss with increased erotic sensation, provided a sexual partnership exists – an aspect of rehabilitation which, until recently, was totally neglected, along with neglect of sexuality in all types of disability and handicap.
John Money, Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pair-bonding, pp. 95-96. John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, London) 1980.