Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION-1.1
INTRODUCTION-1.2
INTRODUCTION-1.3
INTRODUCTION-1.4
INTRODUCTION-1.5
INTRODUCTION-1.6
INTRODUCTION-1.7
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2
THE STUDY OF SEXUAL INVERSION
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-3
HISTORY-1-2-3-4
HISTORY-5
HISTORY-6
HISTORY-7-8
HISTORY-9
HISTORY-10-11-12
HISTORY-13-14
HISTORY-15
HISTORY-16-17-18-19
HISTORY-20
HISTORY-21 (begin)
HISTORY-21 (end)
HISTORY-22-23-24
HISTORY-25
HISTORY-26
HISTORY-27
HISTORY-28-29-30-31-32
HISTORY-33
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-3
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-4
HISTORY-34-35-36-37
HISTORY-38
HISTORY-39.1
HISTORY-39.2
HISTORY-39.3
HISTORY-39.4
FOOTNOTES
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-4
FOOTNOTES
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
CONCLUSIONS-1
CONCLUSIONS-2
CONCLUSIONS-3
CONCLUSIONS-4
FOOTNOTES
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B-1
APPENDIX B-2-3-4
INDEX OF AUTHORS

object belonging to a woman, especially if he sees it by stealth or during 

a mood of erotism. Such an object calls out a whole series of wanton 

imaginations, which it could not do in one who, by his environment, was 

already armed against any tendencies to erotic fetichism. The attraction 

exerted by that which we see but seldom, and around which fancy 

assiduously plays, the attraction of forbidden fruit, produces tendencies 

and habits which could scarcely develop in freedom. Curiosity is acute, 

and is augmented by the obstacles which stand in the way of its 

satisfaction. "Flame" attraction is the beginning of such a morbid 

fetichism. A sentiment which under other conditions would never have gone 

beyond ordinary friendship may thus become a "flame," and even a "flame" 

of markedly sexual character. Under these influences boys and girls feel 

the purest and simplest sentiments in a hyperesthetic manner. The girls 

here studied have lost an exact conception of the simple manifestations of 

friendship, and think they are giving evidence of exquisite sensibility 

and true friendship by loving a companion to madness; friendship in them 

has become a passion. That this intense desire to love a companion 

passionately is the result of the college environments may be seen by the 

following extract from a letter: "You know, dear, much better than I do 

how acutely girls living away from their own homes, and far from all those 

who are dearest to them on earth, feel the need of loving and being loved. 

You can understand how hard it is to be obliged to live without anyone to 

surround you with affection;" and the writer goes on to say how all her 

love turns to her correspondent. 

 

While there is an unquestionable sexual element in the "flame" 

relationship, this cannot be regarded as an absolute expression of real 

congenital perversion of the sex-instinct. The frequency of the phenomena, 

as well as the fact that, on leaving college to enter social life, the 

girl usually ceases to feel these emotions, are sufficient to show the 

absence of congenital abnormality. The estimate of the frequency of 

"flames" in Normal schools, given to Obici and Marchesini by several lady 

collaborators, was about 60 per cent., but there is no reason to suppose 

that women teachers furnish a larger contingent of perverted individuals 

than other women. The root is organic, but the manifestations are ideal 

and Platonic, in contrast with some other manifestations found in 

college-life. No inquiry was made as to the details of solitary sexual 

manifestations in the colleges, the fact that they exist to more or less 

extent being sufficiently recognized. The conversations already referred 

to are a measure of the excitations of sexuality existing in these college 

inmates and multiplied in energy by communication. Such discourse was, 

wrote one collaborator, the order of the day, and it took place chiefly at 

the time when letter-writing also was easiest. It may well be that sensual 

excitations, transformed into ethereal sentiments, serve to increase the 

intensity of the "flames." 

 

Taken altogether, Obici and Marchesini conclude, the flame may be regarded 

as a _provisional synthesis_. We find here, in solution together, the 

physiological element of incipient sexuality, the psychical element of the 

tenderness natural to this age and sex, the element of occasion offered by 

the environment, and the social element with its nascent altruism. 


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