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Kinds of Sexual Outlets

Biologically and biosocially human beings resort to many kinds of sex outlets. They may become sexually excited and come to orgasm in several major ways: (a) they may consciously or unconsciously think or daydream about sexually arousing persons or objects. (b) They may have sexual dreams. (c) They may masturbate. (d) They may have heterosexual coitus or non-coital sex relations. (e) They may engage in homosexual activities (f) they may on occasion have sex relations with animals.

          Since, under favourable conditions all these forms of sex participation are exciting and may lead to climax, there is every reason to believe that if human being sex  were raised without any sexual prejudices or preconceptions they would, in the course of their lifetimes, engage in most of them, though to varying degrees (Freud, 1938).

          Thus, under conditions of complete acceptance off all forms of sexuality, the average man or woman would probably participate in heterosexual intercourse or non-coital relations (heavy petting) for the great majority (perhaps 80 to 90 percent) of his or her outlets, and would employ other forms of sex relations for the remainder of his or her activities.

          In our own society, however, as well as in other parts of the world, distinct sexual attitudes are instilled (Seward, 1946); so that most people ultimately, particularly after marriage, end up by favoring one type of outlet usually heterosexual intercourse while a minority favor another type such as homosexuality .

          This channelizing of our plurisexual urges into one or two main outlets has several possible causes: (a) we are raised to feel that outlets other than the ones we favor are immoral or impermissible . (b) We become, because of emotional disturbances, compulsively attached to a certain outlet. (c) We become neurotically afraid of one mode of behavior (for example, afraid of rejection by members of the other sex) and therefore substitutively remain fixated or fetichistically attached to other outlet (such as homosexuality). (d) We open mindedly try several outlets (such as masturbation, heterosexual petting, and heterosexual intercourse) and decide, on the basis of our experience, that one of them (say, heterosexual coitus) is far more enjoyable than the others.

          Even in our own sexually prejudiced and neurotic society, however, complete channelizing of the sex urge is hardly the invariant physical rule. Most people resort to several different kinds of behavior in their early life before they mainly become attached to one special kind; and many resort to plurisexual activities during all or most of their lives. Some of the major forms of sex participations prevalent today will now be discussed in more detail.

          Sexual thoughts and fantasies. Virtually all normal males and females have considerable sex thoughts and fantasies (Ramsey, 1950). They think, usually, about meeting attractive members of the other sex, undressing them, petting with them, having coitus, etc. Such fantasies may range very widely over the imaginative spectrum and frequently include somewhat unusual, peculiar, or "bizarre" thoughts and fancies. It is only when such unusual sex ideas acquire an obsessive compulsive element, or when they cannot ever be dispensed with in the process of arousal and fulfillment, that they can rightly be labeled as being pathological. As Levine (1955) has noted, A common misconception is that all unusual or bizarre thoughts indicate psychoses or abnormality."

          In the great majority of instances, sex thoughts and fantasies are used for purposes of arousal and do not, un-assistedly, lead to orgasm. In a minority of instances probably no more than one per cent of females and an almost negligible per cent of males thinking about sexual positions may result in an individual's having a regular climax. Thinking about sexual objects and affairs will not itself bring on climax in most cases but will be of decided aid. Often it is indispensable for reaching orgasm during masturbation, petting, and coitus.

          Sex dreams. According to the Kinsey findings, almost all males and about seventy per cent of the females who have been studied admit to having nocturnal sex dreams, with or without orgasm. In some cases, such sex dreams seem to increase when an individual's other sex outlets decrease; but in many other instances this is not true, especially for females; even when sex dreams do increase as a result of a drop in other outlets, the number of orgasms thereby obtained does not seem to equal those otherwise missed.

          Sex dreams, like thoughts and fantasies, are perfectly normal and expectable (Gutheil, 1950; C. Landis, 1940. 1942); it is unusual when they never occur. If either dreams or waking thoughts about sex assume unusual proportions, however, it is to be suspected that the individual does not have sufficient other outlets or that he is emotionally disturbed and is therefore obsessively concerned with sex. In the former instance, his acquiring more other outlets would usually be desirable; in the latter instance, psychological help should be sought to get at the root of the disturbance.

          Masturbation. Originally, masturbation meant the manipulation of the genitals manually, usually until the point of orgasm had been attained. Today, the word is more loosely used to cover almost any kind of self stimulation, manual or non-manual. It is also often applied to extra-coital relations between two individuals, but then confusingly overlaps with the term petting, which for the sake of clarity should be used instead. For the purposes of the present discussion, the word "masturbation" will be' applied only to autoerotism or self-stimulation that is, to describe sexual arousal and satisfaction which occurs when a person is alone.

          Through the ages, many objections to masturbation have been written and declaimed in spite of the fact that at least ninety-five per cent of American males and seventy per cent of females seem, without apparent harm, to masturbate at some time during their lives (Finger, 1947; Kinsey and associates, 1948, 1953; Peck and Wells, 1925; Ramsey, 1950). Today, there is no longer a tendency to claim that autoerotism results in mental illness, physical debilitation, genital injury, many diseases, etc., as was once erroneously claimed by many socalled authorities (Dear born, 1947a; Lawrence, 1953; Spitz, 1949, 1952; Wettley, 1959). But several other objections to masturbation are still printed in most modern sex writings; and virtually all these objections, as I have shown in my book, Sex Without Guilt (1958), are groundless.

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