The Psychology of Sex
Traditionally more sexually autonomous than women in our culture, men’s homosexual promiscuity groups also have had a lively history, still very much alive in such meeting places as sauna baths, toilet rooms, truck stops, and outdoor “meat racks.” Some members of these groups manifest a form of hyperphilia that is less well documented in the activities of women than in their fantasies of multiple or gang service that some women admit to. This is the polyiterative subtype of hyperphilia, or polyiterophilia. It is fairly well documented in the activities of some homosexual males. Its definitive characteristic is that a man or woman builds up his or her own responsiveness towards orgasm alone or with a partner by reiterating the same activity many times with many different partners in a limited period of time. The activity varies, but it is usually some form of manual, oral, anal, vaginal or penile manipulation. To illustrate, a homosexual male with the syndrome of polyiterophilic fellatio will be able to reach an orgasm with his own partner only after accumulating a dozen “blow jobs,” that is acts of fellatio, on different men at, say, a steam bath or sauna club.
It hardly needs to be said that there is no fixed standard as to how often is too often in sex, whether in terms of total orgasmic frequency, masturbation frequency, copulatory frequency with or without orgasm, homosexual or heterosexual frequency, or number of partners. The range of variations is wide, from extreme apathy and erotic inertia to a plurality of orgasms on a daily basis. In some partnerships, each partner may be so disparate in orgasmic frequency that no effective compromise is possible.
Extreme sexual frequency is not known to be correlated with hormonal levels, at least on the basis of today’s tests. New tests in the future, especially those that may measure releaser hormones (releasing factor) from brain cells in the hypothalamus and limbic system, may help fill in the gaps in present day knowledge.
Hyperphilia that takes the form of an extreme multiplicity of partners in some instances represents a defect of pair-bonding. Such a defect is commonly a feature of the kind of personality that in the older psychiatric nosology is classified as psychopathic or sociopathic.
Hyperphilia in some cases takes the form of multiphilia, a compulsion always to have a new love affair – a new partner with whom to fall in love and establish a pair-bond. Once the process of establishing the bond is completed, over a period of months or years, the hyperphilic bonder’s bonding wanes. Compulsively, he/she abandons the lover, even at the expense of reputation and career, and begins the pathological cycle all over again. Multiphilia carries over into the acceptive phase from the proceptive phase of erotosexualism. Like other forms of hyperphilia, and also hypophilia and paraphilia, multiphilia may be expressed heterosexually, homosexually or, more rarely, bisexually.
Another carry-over from proception to acception pertains to orgasm when one is alone as a sequel to erotosexual imagery exclusively, without pressure or tactual stimulation from oneself or a partner. The prototype of this phenomenon is in males the so-called wet dream that culminates in ejaculatory orgasm while asleep, and in females its counterpart, which also culminates in orgasm. Especially in early adolescence, some boys report nonmasturbatory ejaculation in response to erotic fantasy, with or without input from pictures, narratives, or other perceptual stimulation. The prevalence of the corresponding phenomenon in adolescent girls is uncertain. There are rare cases of recurrent fantasy-induced orgasms that are uncontrollable to an extent that is pathological and extremely unpleasant.
It is a source of distress to some affected individuals that they always fail to establish a pair-bond that has some lasting continuity. The contrary phenomenon is found in some individuals, nosologically classified as schizoid or schizophrenic, who are unable to break a pair-bond, even when the partner has deserted. They pine in the grief of a broken heart. Some such individuals establish a pair-bond, as Dante did with Beatrice, at a distance, or in absentia, without declaring their love directly to the partner. The partner may even be a popular cult hero or heroine represented only in a photograph, idolized as teenagers idolize pop singers. In rare instances, the idolator may commit suicide when an idol dies.
John Money, Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pair-bonding, pp. 94-95. John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, London) 1980.