The fact of the existence of scxual needs in human beings and animals is expressed in biology by the assumption of a ‘scxual instinct’, on the analogy of the instinct of nutrition, that is of hunger. Everyday language possesses no counterpart to the word ‘hunger’, but science makes use of the word ‘libido’ for that purpose.
Popular opinion has quite definite ideas about the nature and characteristics of this scxual instinct. It is generally understood to be absent in childhood, to set in at the time of puberty in connection with the process of coming to maturity and to be revealed in the manifestations of an irresistible attraction exercised by one scx upon the other; while its aim is presumed to be scxual union, or at all events actions leading in that direction.
We have every reason to believe, however, that these views give a very false picture of the true situation. If we look into them more closely we shall find that they contain a number of errors, inaccuracies and hasty conclusions flaws.
I shall at this point introduce two technical terms. Let up call the person from whom scxual attraction proceeds the scxual object and the act towards which the instinct tends the scxual aim. Scientifically sifted observation, then, shows that numerous deviations occur in respect of both of these – the scxual object and the scxual aim. The relation between these deviations and what is assumed to be normal requires thorough investigation.
The popular view of the scxual instinct is beautifully reflected in the poetic fable which tells how the original human beings were cut up into two halves – man and woman – and how these are always striving to unite again in love. It comes as a great surprise therefore to learn that there are men whose scxual object is a man and not a woman, and women whose scxual object is a woman and not a man. People of this kind are described as having ‘contrary scxual feelings’, or better, as being ‘inverts’, and the fact is described as ‘inversion’. The number of such people is very considerable, though there are difficulties in establishing it precisely.
BEHAVIOUR OF INVERTS
Such people vary greatly in their behaviour in several respects.
(a) They may be absolute inverts. In that case their scxual objects are exclusively of their own scx. Persons of the opposite scx are never the object of their scxual desire, but leave them cold, or even arouse scxual aversion in them. As a consequence of this aversion, they are incapable, if they are men, of carrying out the scxual act, or else they derive no enjoyment from it.
(b) They may be amphigenic inverts, that is psychosexual hermaphrodites. In that case their scxual objects may equally well be of their own or of the opposite scx. This kind of inversion thus lacks the characteristic of exclusiveness.
(c) They may be contingent inverts. In that case, under certain external conditions – of which inaccessibility of any normal scxual object and imitation are the chief – they are capable of taking as their scxual object someone of their own scx and of deriving satisfaction from scxual intercourse with him.