The Psychology of Sex
Introduction by Simon Sheppard
John Money’s little-known book Love and Love Sickness is an ideal source for internet pages, for several reasons. The internet, except perhaps under special circumstances, is not a suitable medium for a whole book, and Love and Love Sickness contains much that is irrelevant, technical, politically correct, dated and plain wrong, and all of this material can be omitted. Indeed Wilson reports that Money shed many of his “environmentalist” views subsequently. What remains however is some astonishing insights into human sexuality, historically and in the present. An example is the following:
Whatever the antecedents to an orgasm that is better than others, the final common pathway is the same. The two lovers are able to experience a feeling of unrestrained and untamed abandonment to one another. It is not necessary for them to pay attention either to what the self is doing or what the partner is doing. All the movements take care of themselves, as if reflexively. The sensations greedily absorbed by the vulva, externally and through deep interior pressure, tell the vaginal cavity how to selfishly pulsate, ripple, quiver, and contract on the penis, in order to release itself in orgasm. Reciprocally, the penis selfishly probes and presses, twists a little, withdraws and tantalizes at the portals, and sinks deeply again, it too greedily building up its own orgasmic pleasure. The two bodies writhe, unheedingly. The two minds drift into the oblivion of attending only to their own feeling, so perfectly synchronized that the ecstasy of the one is preordained to be the reciprocal ecstacy of the other. Two minds, mindlessly lost in one another. This is the perfect orgasmic experience. This is how an orgasm sighs, moans, exclaims, expires, exhausts itself into exultant repose.
And this in an academic textbook! Moreover, this example illustrates Money’s astonishing ability to pursue an argument, sometimes quoting historical facts and convincing examples, then to arrive at precisely the opposite conclusion to that expected. This is the phenomenon that “conviction can have a profound effect upon observation” detailed by Lewis Wolpert in The Unnatural Nature of Science. Why? Because the above paragraph finishes with:
No orgasm is the best. They keep getting better and better.
Really? I doubt if I am alone in remembering several in particular. It is probably more accurate to say that with increasing age they lose some intensity, as well as becoming less frequent. The above example illustrates why these excerpts have been carefully edited.
Notwithstanding dropping Margaret Mead’s name (no doubt a name considered worth dropping at the time of writing), the technical details of sex-formation irregularities in gestation and the self-contradictory passages in the book, there is some extremely interesting material which is provided here as a complement to ‘The Science of Sex.’
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