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Modern Views of Sexual Emotion - Ludwig Loewenfeld

( Originally Published 1957 )

Loewenfeld accepted much of Moll's sex psychology and carried it a bit further. He gives descriptions of cases illustrating the absence or very slight development of the genital impulse, along with fully normal expression of amorous attraction. There is evidence, he believes, that genital sexuality may be but weakly active while the urge toward intimate physical contact and embrace is strongly felt. So long as we feel the latter impulses toward a person whom we admire for beauty or some kind of excellence, and for whose well-being we are concerned, the experience is "sexual love," even though the genital impulse may be entirely absent.

Loewenfeld stresses particularly that sexual love relation-ships vary greatly in make-up. Their individuality results from the relative strength of the feelings and impulses that enter into them. Whether the sensual or the nonsensual feelings are dominant affects not only the character or quality of the emotional bond but also its duration. Sensual desire fluctuates. The nonsensual feelings are less variable, their influence is more constant, and attachments in which they are prominent tend to be more stable.

He included among the contents of sexual love, sympathetic concern for the welfare of the loved person. Grounds for doubting that this element belongs among the essentials of amorous emotion were considered earlier. A further point of interest, however, is that while "sympathy" feelings may exert, according to Loewenfeld, a stimulating effect upon the genital impulse, the opposite may be true of amorous feeling: the adoring and "worshipful" emotion operates depressively, he thinks, on sensual desire. The idea that there is a basic conflict, or at least a kind of incompatibility between these two components of the sex relationship has been many times expressed. It will be considered at a later point.

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