Love and Pain/3

The whole problem of love and pain, in its complementary sadistic and masochistic aspects, is presented to us in connection with the pleasure sometimes experienced in whipping, or in being whipped, or in witnessing or thinking about scenes of whipping. The association of sexual emotion with bloodshed is so extreme a perversion, it so swiftly sinks to phases that are obviously cruel, repulsive, and monstrous in an extreme degree, that it is necessarily rare, and those who are afflicted by it are often more or less imbecile. With whipping it is otherwise. Whipping has always been a recognized religious penance; it is still regarded as a beneficial and harmless method of chastisement; there is nothing necessarily cruel, repulsive, or monstrous in the idea or the reality of whipping, and it is perfectly easy and natural for an interest in the subject to arise in an innocent and even normal child, and thus to furnish a germ around which, temporarily at all events, sexual ideas may crystallize. For these reasons the connection between love and pain may be more clearly brought out in connection with whipping than with blood.

There is, by no means, any necessary connection between flagellation and the sexual emotions. If there were, this form of penance would not have been so long approved or at all events tolerated by the Church.[107]

As a matter of fact, indeed, it was not always approved or even tolerated. Pope Adrian IV in the eighth century forbade priests to beat their penitents, and at the time of the epidemic of flagellation in the thirteenth century, which was highly approved by many holy men, the abuses were yet so frequent that Clement VI issued a bull against these processions. All such papal prohibitions remained without effect. The association of religious flagellation with perverted sexual motives is shown by its condemnation in later ages by the Inquisition, which was accustomed to prosecute the priests who, in prescribing flagellation as a penance, exerted it personally, or caused it to be inflicted on the stripped penitent in his presence, or made a woman penitent discipline him, such offences being regarded as forms of "solicitation."[108] There seems even to be some reason to suppose that the religious flagellation mania which was so prevalent in the later Middle Ages, when processions of penitents, male and female, eagerly flogged themselves and each other, may have had something to do with the discovery of erotic flagellation,[109] which, at all events in Europe, seems scarcely to have been known before the sixteenth century. It must, in any case, have assisted to create a predisposition. The introduction of flagellation as a definitely recognized sexual stimulant is by Eulenburg, in his interesting book, _Sadismus und Masochismus_, attributed to the Arabian physicians. It would appear to have been by the advice of an Arabian physician that the Duchess Leonora Gonzaga, of Mantua, was whipped by her mother to aid her in responding more warmly to her husband's embraces and to conceive.

Whatever the precise origin of sexual flagellation in Europe, there can be no doubt that it soon became extremely common, and so it remains at the present day. Those who possess a special knowledge of such matters declare that sexual flagellation is the most frequent of all sexual perversions in England.[110] This belief is, I know, shared by many people both inside and outside England. However this may be, the tendency is certainly common. I doubt if it is any or at all less common in Germany, judging by the large number of books on the subject of flagellation which have been published in German. In a catalogue of "interesting books" on this and allied subjects issued by a German publisher and bookseller, I find that, of fifty-five volumes, as many as seventeen or eighteen, all in German, deal solely with the question of flagellation, while many of the other books appear to deal in part with the same subject.[111] It is, no doubt, true that the large part which the rod has played in the past history of our civilization justifies a considerable amount of scientific interest in the subject of flagellation, but it is clear that the interest in these books is by no means always scientific, but very frequently sexual.

   It is remarkable that, while the sexual associations of whipping,
   whether in slight or in marked degrees, are so frequent in modern
   times, they appear to be by no means easy to trace in ancient
   times. "Flagellation," I find it stated by a modern editor of the
   _Priapeia_, "so extensively practised in England as a provocation
   to venery, is almost entirely unnoticed by the Latin erotic
   writers, although, in the _Satyricon_ of Petronius (ch.
   cxxxviii), Encolpius, in describing the steps taken by OEnothea
   to undo the temporary impotence to which he was subjected, says:
   'Next she mixed nasturtium-juice with southern wood, and, having
   bathed my foreparts, she took a bunch of green nettles, and
   gently whipped my belly all over below the navel.'" It appears
   also that many ancient courtesans dedicated to Venus as ex-votos
   a whip, a bridle, or a spur as tokens of their skill in riding
   their lovers. The whip was sometimes used in antiquity, but if it
   aroused sexual emotions they seem to have passed unregarded. "We
   naturally know nothing," Eulenburg remarks (_Sadismus und
   Masochismus_, p. 72), "of the feelings of the priestess of
   Artemis at the flagellation of Spartan youths; or what emotions
   inspired the priestess of the Syrian goddess under similar
   circumstances; or what the Roman Pontifex Maximus felt when he
   castigated the exposed body of a negligent vestal (as described
   by Plutarch) behind a curtain, and the 'plagosus Orbilius' only
   practised on children."
   It was at the Renaissance that cases of abnormal sexual pleasure
   in flagellation began to be recorded. The earliest distinct
   reference to a masochistic flagellant seems to have been made by
   Pico della Mirandola, toward the end of the fifteenth century, in
   his _Disputationes Adversus Astrologiam Divinatricem_, bk. iii,
   ch. xxvii. Coelius Rhodiginus in 1516, again, narrated the case
   of a man he knew who liked to be severely whipped, and found this
   a stimulant to coitus. Otto Brunfels, in his _Onomasticon_
   (1534), art. "Coitus," refers to another case of a man who could
   not have intercourse with his wife until he had been whipped.
   Then, a century later, in 1643, Meibomius wrote _De Usu Flagrorum
   in re Venerea_, the earliest treatise on this subject, narrating
   various cases. Numerous old cases of pleasure in flagellation and
   urtication were brought together by Schurig in 1720 in his
   _Spermatologia_, pp. 253-258.
   The earliest definitely described medical case of sadistic
   pleasure in the sight of active whipping which I have myself come
   across belongs to the year 1672, and occurs in a letter in which
   Nesterus seeks the opinion of Garmann. He knows intimately, he
   states, a very learned man--whose name, for the honor he bears
   him, he refrains from mentioning--who, whenever in a school or
   elsewhere he sees a boy unbreeched and birched, and hears him
   crying out, at once emits semen copiously without any erection,
   but with great mental commotion. The same accident frequently
   happens to him during sleep, accompanied by dreams of whipping.
   Nesterus proceeds to mention that this "_laudatus vir_" was also
   extremely sensitive to the odor of strawberries and other fruits,
   which produced nausea. He was evidently a neurotic subject.
   (L.C.F. Garmanni et Aliorum Virorum Clarissimorum, _Epistolarum
   Centuria_, Rostochi et Lipsiae, 1714.)
   In England we find that toward the end of the sixteenth century
   one of Marlowe's epigrams deals with a certain Francus who before
   intercourse with his mistress "sends for rods and strips himself
   stark naked," and by the middle of the seventeenth century the
   existence of an association between flagellation and sexual
   pleasure seems to have been popularly recognized. In 1661, in a
   vulgar "tragicomedy" entitled _The Presbyterian Lash_, we find:
   "I warrant he thought that the tickling of the wench's buttocks
   with the rod would provoke her to lechery." That whipping was
   well known as a sexual stimulant in England in the eighteenth
   century is sufficiently indicated by the fact that in one of
   Hogarth's series representing the "Harlot's Progress" a birch rod
   hangs over the bed. The prevalence of sexual flagellation in
   England at the end of that century and the beginning of the
   nineteenth is discussed by Duehren (Iwan Bloch) in his
   _Geschlechtsleben in England_ (1901-3), especially vol. ii, ch.
   While, however, the evidence regarding sexual flagellation is
   rare, until recent times whipping as a punishment was extremely
   common. It is even possible that its very prevalence, and the
   consequent familiarity with which it was regarded, were
   unfavorable to the development of any mysterious emotional state
   likely to act on the sexual sphere, except in markedly neurotic
   subjects. Thus, the corporal chastisement of wives by husbands
   was common and permitted. Not only was this so to a proverbial
   extent in eastern Europe, but also in the extreme west and among
   a people whose women enjoyed much freedom and honor. Cymric law
   allowed a husband to chastise his wife for angry speaking, such
   as calling him a cur; for giving away property she was not
   entitled to give away; or for being found in hiding with another
   man. For the first two offenses she had the option of paying him
   three kine. When she accepted the chastisement she was to receive
   "three strokes with a rod of the length of her husband's forearm
   and the thickness of his long finger, and that wheresoever he
   might will, excepting on the head"; so that she was to suffer
   pain only, and not injury. (R.B. Holt, "Marriage Laws and Customs
   of the Cymri," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,
   August-November, 1898, p. 162.)
   "The Cymric law," writes a correspondent, "seems to have survived
   in popular belief in the Eastern and Middle States of the United
   States. In police-courts in New York, for example, it has been
   unsuccessfully pleaded that a man is entitled to beat his wife
   with a stick no thicker than his thumb. In Pennsylvania actual
   acquittals have been rendered."
   Among all classes children were severely whipped by their parents
   and others in authority over them. It may be recalled that in the
   twelfth century when Abelard became tutor to Heloise, then about
   18 years of age, her uncle authorized him to beat her, if
   negligent in her studies. Even in the sixteenth century Jeanne
   d'Albert, who became the mother of Henry IV of France, at the
   age of 131/2 was married to the Duke of Cleves, and to overcome her
   resistance to this union the Queen, her mother, had her whipped
   to such an extent that she thought she would die of it. The whip
   on this occasion was, however, only partially successful, for the
   Duke never succeeded in consummating the marriage, which was, in
   consequence, annulled. (Cabanes brings together numerous facts
   regarding the prevalence of flagellation as a chastisement in
   ancient France in the interesting chapter on "La Flagellation a
   la Cour et a la Ville" in his _Indiscretions de l'Histoire_,
   As to the prevalence of whipping in England evidence is furnished
   by Andrews, in the chapter on "Whipping and Whipping Posts," in
   his book on ancient punishments. It existed from the earliest
   times and was administered for a great variety of offenses, to
   men and women alike, for vagrancy, for theft, to the fathers and
   mothers of illegitimate children, for drunkenness, for insanity,
   even sometimes for small-pox. At one time both sexes were whipped
   naked, but from Queen Elizabeth's time only from the waist
   upward. In 1791 the whipping of female vagrants ceased by law.
   (W. Andrews, _Bygone Punishments_, 1899.)
   It must, however, be remarked that law always lags far behind
   social feeling and custom, and flagellation as a common
   punishment had fallen into disuse or become very perfunctory long
   before any change was made in the law, though it is not
   absolutely extinct, even by law, today. There is even an ignorant
   and retrograde tendency to revive it. Thus, even in severe
   Commonwealth days, the alleged whipping with rods of a
   servant-girl by her master, though with no serious physical
   injury, produced a great public outcry, as we see by the case of
   the Rev. Zachary Crofton, a distinguished London clergyman, who
   was prosecuted in 1657 on the charge of whipping his
   servant-girl, Mary Cadman, because she lay in bed late in the
   morning and stole sugar. This incident led to several pamphlets.
   In _The Presbyterian, Lash or Noctroff's Maid Whipt_ (1661), a
   satire on Crofton, we read: "It is not only contrary to Gospel
   but good manners to take up a wench's petticoats, smock and all";
   and in the doggerel ballad of "Bo-Peep," which was also written
   on the same subject, it is said that Crofton should have left his
   wife to chastise the maid. Crofton published two pamphlets, one
   under his own name and one under that of Alethes Noctroff (1657),
   in which he elaborately dealt with the charge as both false and
   frivolous. In one passage he offers a qualified defense of such
   an act: "I cannot but bewail the exceeding rudeness of our times
   to suffer such foolery to be prosecuted as of some high and
   notorious crime. Suppose it were (as it is not) true, may not
   some eminent congregational brother be found guilty of the same
   act? Is it not much short of drinking an health naked on a
   signpost? May it not be as theologically defended as the
   husband's correction of his wife?" This passage, and the whole
   episode, show that feeling in regard to this matter was at that
   time in a state of transition.
   Flagellation as a penance, whether inflicted by the penitent
   himself or by another person, was also extremely common in
   medieval and later days. According to Walsingham ("Master of the
   Rolls' Collection," vol. i, p. 275), in England, in the middle of
   the fourteenth century, penitents, sometimes men of noble birth,
   would severely flagellate themselves, even to the shedding of
   blood, weeping or singing as they did so; they used cords with
   knots containing nails.
   At a later time the custom of religious flagellation was more
   especially preserved in Spain. The Countess d'Aulnoy, who visited
   Spain in 1685, has described the flagellations practised in
   public at Madrid. After giving an account of the dress worn by
   these flagellants, which corresponds to that worn in Spain in
   Holy Week at the present time by the members of the _Cofradias_,
   the face concealed by the high sugar-loaf head-covering, she
   continues: "They attach ribbons to their scourges, and usually
   their mistresses honor them with their favors. In gaining public
   admiration they must not gesticulate with the arm, but only move
   the wrist and hand; the blows must be given without haste, and
   the blood must not spoil the costume. They make terrible wounds
   on their shoulders, from which the blood flows in streams; they
   march through the streets with measured steps; they pass before
   the windows of their mistresses, where they flagellate themselves
   with marvelous patience. The lady gazes at this fine sight
   through the blinds of her room, and by a sign she encourages him
   to flog himself, and lets him understand how much she likes this
   sort of gallantry. When they meet a good-looking woman they
   strike themselves in such a way that the blood goes on to her;
   this is a great honor, and the grateful lady thanks them.... All
   this is true to the letter."
   The Countess proceeds to describe other and more genuine
   penitents, often of high birth, who may be seen in the street
   naked above the waist, and with naked feet on the rough and sharp
   pavement; some had swords passed through the skin of their body
   and arms, others heavy crosses that weighed them down. She
   remarks that she was told by the Papal Nuncio that he had
   forbidden confessors to impose such penances, and that they were
   due to the devotion of the penitents themselves. (_Relation du
   Voyage d'Espagne_, 1692, vol. ii, pp. 158-164.)
   The practice of public self-flagellation in church during Lent
   existed in Spain and Portugal up to the early years of the
   nineteenth century. Descriptions of it will often be met with in
   old volumes of travel. Thus, I find a traveler through Spain in
   1786 describing how, at Barcelona, he was present when, in Lent,
   at a Miserere in the Convent Church of San Felipe Neri on Friday
   evening the doors were shut, the lights put out, and in perfect
   darkness all bared their backs and applied the discipline,
   singing while they scourged themselves, ever louder and harsher
   and with ever greater vehemence until in twenty minutes' time the
   whole ended in a deep groan. It is mentioned that at Malaga,
   after such a scene, the whole church was in the morning sprinkled
   with blood. (Joseph Townsend, _A Journey through Spain in 1786_,
   vol. i, p. 122; vol. iii, p. 15.)
   Even to our own day religious self-flagellation is practised by
   Spaniards in the Azores, in the darkened churches during Lent,
   and the walls are often spotted and smeared with blood at this
   time. (O.H. Howarth, "The Survival of Corporal Punishment,"
   _Journal Anthropological Institute_, Feb., 1889.) In remote
   districts of Spain (as near Haro in Rioja) there are also
   brotherhoods who will flagellate themselves on Good Friday, but
   not within the church. (Dario de Regoyos, _Espana Negra_, 1899,
   p. 72.)

When we glance over the history of flagellation and realize that, though whipping as a punishment has been very widespread and common, there have been periods and lands showing no clear knowledge of any sexual association of whipping, it becomes clear that whipping is not necessarily an algolagnic manifestation. It seems evident that there must be special circumstances, and perhaps a congenital predisposition, to bring out definitely the relationship of flagellation to the sexual impulse. Thus, Loewenfeld considers that only about 1 per cent, of people can be sexually excited by flagellation of the buttocks,[112] and Naecke also is decidedly of opinion that there can be no sexual pleasure in flagellation without predisposition, which is rare.[113] On these grounds many are of opinion that physical chastisement, provided it is moderate, seldom applied, and only to children who are quite healthy and vigorous, need not be absolutely prohibited.[114] But, however rare and abnormal a sexual response to actual flagellation may be in adults, we shall see that the general sexual association of whipping in the minds of children, and frequently of their elders, is by; no means rare and scarcely abnormal.

What is the cause of the connection between sexual emotion and whipping? A very simple physical cause has been believed by some to account fully for the phenomena. It is known that strong stimulation of the gluteal region may, especially under predisposing conditions, produce or heighten sexual excitement, by virtue of the fact that both regions are supplied by branches of the same nerve.

There is another reason why whipping should exert a sexual influence. As Fere especially has pointed out, in moderate amount it has a tonic effect, and as such has a general beneficial result in stimulating the whole body. This fact was, indeed, recognized by the classic physicians, and Galen regarded flagellation as a tonic.[115] Thus, not only must it be said that whipping, when applied to the gluteal region, has a direct influence in stimulating the sexual organs, but its general tonic influence must naturally extend to the sexual system.

   It is possible that we must take into account here a biological
   factor, such as we have found involved in other forms of sadism
   and masochism. In this connection a lady writes to me: "With
   regard to the theory which connects the desire for whipping with
   the way in which animals make love, where blows or pressure on
   the hindquarters are almost a necessary preliminary to pleasure,
   have you ever noticed the way in which stags behave? Their does
   seem as timid as the males are excitable, and the blows inflicted
   on them by the horns of their mates to reduce them to submission
   must be, I should think, an exact equivalent to being beaten with
   a stick."
   It is remarkable that in some cases the whip would even appear to
   have a psychic influence in producing sexual excitement in
   animals accustomed to its application as a stimulant to action.
   Thus, Professor Cornevin, of Lyons, describes the case of a
   Hungarian stallion, otherwise quite potent, in whom erection
   could only be produced in the presence of a mare in heat when a
   whip was cracked near him, and occasionally applied gently to his
   legs. (Cornevin, _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, January,

Here, undoubtedly, we have a definite anatomical and physiological relationship which often serves as a starting-point for the turning of the sexual feelings in this direction, and will sometimes support the perversion when it has otherwise arisen. But this relationship, even if we regard it as a fairly frequent channel by which sexual emotion is aroused, will not suffice to account for most, or even many, of the cases in which whipping exerts a sexual fascination. In many, if not most, cases it is found that the idea of whipping asserts its sexual significance quite apart from any personal experience, even in persons who have never been whipped;[116] not seldom also in persons who have been whipped and who feel nothing but repugnance for the actual performance, attractive as it may be in imagination.

It is evident that we have to seek the explanation of this phenomenon largely in psychic causes. Whipping, whether inflicted or suffered, tends to arouse, vaguely but massively, the very fundamental and primitive emotions of anger and fear, which, as we have seen, have always been associated with courtship, and it tends to arouse them at an age when the sexual emotions have not become clearly defined, and under circumstances which are likely to introduce sexual associations. From their earliest years children have been trained to fear whipping, even when not actually submitted to it, and an unjust punishment of this kind, whether inflicted on themselves or others, frequently arouses intense anger, nervous excitement, or terror in the sensitive minds of children.[117] Moreover, as has been pointed out to me by a lady who herself in early life was affected by the sexual associations of whipping, a child only sees the naked body of elder children when uncovered for whipping, and its sexual charm may in part be due to this cause. We further have to remark that the spectacle of suffering itself is, to some extent and under some circumstances, a stimulant of sexual emotion. It is evident that a number of factors contribute to surround whipping at a very early age with powerful emotional associations, and that these associations are of such a character that in predisposed subjects they are very easily led into a sexual channel.[118] Various lines of evidence support this conclusion. Thus, from several reliable quarters I learn that the sight of a boy being caned at school may produce sexual excitement in the boys who look on. The association of sexual emotion with whipping is, again, very liable to show itself in schoolmasters, and many cases have been recorded in which the flogging of boys, under the stress of this impulse, has been carried to extreme lengths. An early and eminent example is furnished by Udall, the humanist, at one time headmaster of Eton, who was noted for his habit of inflicting frequent corporal punishment for little or no cause, and who confessed to sexual practices with the boys under his care.[119]

Sanitchenko has called attention to the case of a Russian functionary, a school inspector, who every day had some fifty pupils flogged in his presence, as evidence of a morbid pleasure in such scenes. Even when no sexual element can be distinctly traced, scenes of whipping sometimes exert a singular fascination on some persons of sensitive emotional temperament. A friend, a clergyman, who has read many novels tells me that he has been struck by the frequency with which novelists describe such scenes with much luxury of detail; his list includes novels by well-known religious writers of both sexes. In some of these cases there is reason to believe that the writers felt this sexual association of whipping.

It is natural that an interest in whipping should be developed very early in childhood, and, indeed, it enters very frequently into the games of young children, and constitutes a much relished element of such games, more especially among girls. I know of many cases in which young girls between 6 and 12 years of age took great pleasure in games in which the chief point consisted in unfastening each other's drawers and smacking each other, and some of these girls, when they grew older, realized that there was an element of sexual enjoyment in their games. It has indeed, it seems, always been a child's game, and even an amusement of older persons, to play at smacking each other's nates. In _The Presbyter's Lash_ in 1661 a young woman is represented as stating that she had done this as a child, and in ancient France it was a privileged custom on Innocents' Day (December 28th) to smack all the young people found lying late in bed; it was a custom which, as Clement Marot bears witness, was attractive to lovers.

   If we turn to the histories I have brought together in Appendix B
   we find various references to whipping more or less clearly
   connected with the rudimentary sexual feelings of childhood.
   I am acquainted with numerous cases in which the idea of
   whipping, or the impulse to whip or be whipped, distinctly
   exists, though usually, when persisting to adult life, only in a
   rudimentary form. History I in the Appendix B presents a
   well-marked instance. I may quote the remarks in another case of
   a lady regarding her early feelings: "As a child the idea of
   being whipped excited me, but only in connection with a person I
   loved, and, moreover, one who had the right to correct me. On one
   occasion I was beaten with the back of a brush, and the pain was
   sufficient to overcome any excitement; so that, ever after, this
   particular form of whipping left me unaffected, though the
   excitement still remained connected with forms of which I had no
   Another lady states that when a little girl of 4 or 5 the
   servants used to smack her nates with a soft brush to amuse
   themselves (undoubtedly, as she now believes, this gave them a
   kind of sexual pleasure); it did not hurt her, but she disliked
   it. Her father used to whip her severely on the nates at this age
   and onward to the age of 13, but this never gave her any
   pleasure. When, however, she was about 9 she began in waking
   dreams to imagine that she was whipping somebody, and would
   finish by imagining that she was herself being whipped. She would
   make up stories of which the climax was a whipping, and felt at
   the same time a pleasurable burning sensation in her sexual
   parts; she used to prolong the preliminaries of the story to
   heighten the climax; she felt more pleasure in the idea of being
   whipped than of whipping, although she never experienced any
   pleasure from an actual whipping. These day-dreams were most
   vivid when she was at school, between the ages of 11 and 14. They
   began to fade with the growth of affection for real persons. But
   in dreams, even in adult life, she occasionally experienced
   sexual excitement accompanied by images of smacking.
   Another correspondent, this time a man, writes: "I experienced
   the connection between sexual excitement and whipping long before
   I knew what sexuality meant or had any notion regarding the
   functions of the sexual organs. What I now know to be distinct
   sexual feeling used to occur whenever the idea of whipping arose
   or the mention of whipping was made in a way to arrest my
   attention. I well remember the strange, mysterious fascination it
   had, even apart from any actual physical excitement. I have been
   told by many men and a few women that it was the same with them.
   Even now the feeling exists sometimes, especially when reading
   about whipping."
   The following confession, which I find recorded by a German
   manufacturer's wife, corresponds with those I have obtained in
   England: "When about 5 years old I was playing with a little girl
   friend in the park. Our governesses sat on a bench talking. For
   some reason--perhaps because we had wandered away too far and
   failed to hear a call to return--my friend aroused the anger of
   the governess in charge of her. That young lady, therefore, took
   her aside, raised her dress, and vigorously smacked her with the
   flat hand. I looked on fascinated, and possessed by an
   inexplicable feeling to which I naively gave myself up. The
   impression was so deep that the scene and the persons concerned
   are still clearly present to my mind, and I can even recall the
   little details of my companion's underclothing." When sexual
   associations are permanently brought into play through such an
   early incident it is possible that a special predisposition
   exists. (_Gesellschaft und Geschlecht_, Bd. ii, ht. 4, p. 120.)

It would certainly seem that we must look upon this association as coming well within the normal range of emotional life in childhood, although after puberty, when the sexual feelings become clearly defined, the attraction of whipping normally tends to be left behind as a piece of childishness, only surviving in the background of consciousness, if at all, to furnish a vaguely sexual emotional tone to the subject of whipping, but not affecting conduct, sometimes only emerging in erotic dreams.

This, however, is not invariably the case in persons who are organically abnormal. In such cases, and especially, it would seem, in highly sensitive and emotional children, the impress left by the fact or the image of whipping may be so strong that it affects not only definitely, but permanently, the whole subsequent course of development of the sexual impulse. Regis has recorded a case which well illustrates the circumstances and hereditary conditions under which the idea of whipping may take such firm root in the sexual emotional nature of a child as to persist into adult life; at the same time the case shows how a sexual perversion may, in an intelligent person, take on an intellectual character, and it also indicates a rational method of treatment.

   Jules P., aged 22, of good heredity on father's side, but bad on
   that of mother, who is highly hysterical, while his grandmother
   was very impulsive and sometimes pursued other women with a
   knife. He has one brother and one sister, who are somewhat morbid
   and original. He is himself healthy, intelligent, good looking,
   and agreeable, though with slightly morbid peculiarities. At the
   age of 4 or 5 he suddenly opened a door and saw his sister, then
   a girl of 14 or 15, kneeling, with her clothes raised and her
   head on her governess's lap, at the moment of being whipped for
   some offense. This trivial incident left a profound impression on
   his mind, and he recalls every detail of it, especially the sight
   of his sister's buttocks,--round, white, and enormous as they
   seemed to his childish eyes,--and that momentary vision gave a
   permanent direction to the whole of his sexual life. Always after
   that he desired to touch and pat his sister's gluteal regions. He
   shared her bed, and, though only a child, acquired great skill in
   attaining his ends without attracting her attention, lifting her
   night-gown when she slept and gently caressing the buttocks, also
   contriving to turn her over on to her stomach and then make a
   pillow of her hips. This went on until the age of 7, when he
   began to play with two little girls of the neighborhood, the
   eldest of whom was 10; he liked to take the part of the father
   and whip them. The older girl was big for her age, and he would
   separate her drawers and smack her with much voluptuous emotion;
   so that he frequently sought opportunities to repeat the
   experience, to which the girl willingly lent herself, and they
   were constantly together in dark corners, the girl herself
   opening her drawers to enable him to caress her thighs and
   buttocks with his hand until he became conscious of an erection.
   Sometimes he would gently use a whip. On one occasion she asked
   him if he would not now like to see her in front, but he
   One day, when 8 or 9 years old, being with a boy companion, he
   came upon a picture of a monk being flagellated, and thereupon
   persuaded his companion to let himself be whipped; the boy
   enjoyed the experience, which was therefore often repeated. Jules
   P. himself, however, never took the slightest pleasure in playing
   the passive part. These practices were continued even after the
   friend became a conscript, when, however, they became very rare.
   Only once or twice has he ever done anything of this kind to
   girls who were strangers to him. Nor has he ever masturbated or
   had any desire for sexual intercourse. He contents himself with
   the pleasure of being occasionally able to witness scenes of
   whipping in public places--parks and gardens--or of catching
   glimpses of the thighs and buttocks of young girls or, if
   possible, women.
   His principal enjoyment is in imagination. From the first he has
   loved to invent stories in which whippings were the climax, and
   at 13 such stories produced the first spontaneous emission. Thus,
   he imagines, for instance, a young girl from the country who
   comes up to Paris by train; on the way a lady is attracted by
   her, takes an interest in her, brings her home to dinner, and at
   last can no longer resist the temptation to take the girl in her
   arms and whip her amorously. He writes out these scenes and
   illustrates them with drawings, many of which Regis reproduces.
   He has even written comedies in which whipping plays a prominent
   part. He has, moreover, searched public libraries for references
   to flagellation, inserted queries in the _Intermediare des
   Chercheurs et des Curieux_, and thus obtained a complete
   bibliography of flagellation which is of considerable value.
   Regis is acquainted with these _Archives de la Fessee_, and
   states that they are carried on with great method and care. He is
   especially interested in the whipping of women by women. He
   considers that the pleasure of whippings should always be shared
   by the person whipped, and he is somewhat concerned to find that
   he has an increasing inclination to imagine an element of cruelty
   in the whipping. Emissions are somewhat frequent. According to
   the latest information, he is much better; he has entered into
   sexual relationship with a woman who is much in love with him,
   and to whom he has confided his peculiarities. With her aid and
   suggestions he has been able to have intercourse with her, at the
   moment of coitus whipping her with a harmless India-rubber tube.
   (E. Regis, "Un Cas de Perversion Sexuelle, a forme Sadique,"
   _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelles_, July, 1899.)
   In a case also occurring in a highly educated man (narrated by
   Marandon de Montyel) a doctor of laws, brilliantly intellectual
   and belonging to a family in which there had been some insanity,
   when at school at the age of 11, saw for the first time a
   schoolfellow whipped on the nates, and experienced a new pleasure
   and emotion. He was never himself whipped at school, but would
   invent games with his sisters and playfellows in which whipping
   formed an essential part. At the age of 13 he teased a young
   woman, a cook, until she seized him and whipped him. He put his
   arms around her and experienced his first voluptuous spasm of
   sex. The love of flagellation temporarily died out, however, and
   gave place to masturbation and later to a normal attraction to
   women. But at the age of 32 the old ideas were aroused anew by a
   story his mistress told him. He suffered from various obsessions
   and finally committed suicide. (Marandon de Montyel, "Obsessions
   et Vie Sexuelle," _Archives de Neurologie_, Oct., 1904.)
   In a case that has been reported to me, somewhat similar ideas
   played a part. The subject is a tall, well-developed man, aged
   28, delicate in childhood, but now normal in health and physical
   condition, though not fond of athletics. His mental ability is
   much above the average, especially in scientific directions; he
   was brought up in narrow and strict religious views, but at an
   early age developed agnostic views of his own.
   From the age of 6, and perhaps earlier, he practised masturbation
   almost every night. This was a habit which he carried on in all
   innocence. It was as invariable a preliminary, he states, to
   going to sleep as was lying down, and at this period he would
   have felt no hesitation in telling all about it had the question
   been asked. At the age of 12 or 13 he recognized the habit as
   abnormal, and fear of ridicule then caused him to keep silence
   and to avoid observation. In carrying it out he would lie on his
   stomach with the penis directed downward, and not up, and the
   thumb resting on the region above the root of the penis. There
   was desire for micturition after the act, and when that was
   satisfied sound sleep followed. When he realized that the habit
   was abnormal he began to make efforts to discontinue it, and
   these efforts have been continued up to the present. The chief
   obstacle has been the difficulty of sleep without carrying out
   the practice. Emissions first began to occur at the age of 13 and
   at first caused some alarm. During the six following years
   indulgence was irregular, sometimes occurring every other night
   and sometimes with a week's intermission. Then at the age of 19
   the habit was broken for a year, during which nocturnal emissions
   took place during sleep about every three weeks. Since this,
   shorter periods of non-indulgence have occurred, these periods
   always coinciding with unusual mental or physical strain, as of
   examinations. He has some degree of attraction for women; this is
   strongest during cessation from masturbation and tends to
   disappear when the habit is resumed. He has never had sexual
   intercourse because he prefers his own method of gratification
   and feels great abhorrence for professional prostitutes; he could
   not afford to marry. Any indecency or immorality, except (he
   observes) his own variety, disgusts him.
   At the earliest period no mental images accompanied the act of
   masturbation. At about the age of 8, however, sexual excitement
   began to be constantly associated with ideas of being whipped. At
   or soon after this age only the fear of disgrace prevented him
   from committing serious childish offenses likely to be punished
   by a good whipping. Parents and masters, however, seem to have
   used corporal punishment very sparingly.
   At first this desire was for whipping in general, without
   reference to the operator. Soon after the age of 10, however, he
   began to wish that certain boy friends should be the operators.
   At about the same time definite desire arose for closer contact
   with these friends and later for definite indecent acts which,
   however, the subject failed to specify; he probably meant mutual
   masturbation. These desires were under control, and the fear of
   ridicule seems to have been the chief restraining cause. At about
   the age of 15 he began to realize that such acts might be
   considered morally bad and wrong, and this led to reticence and
   careful concealment. Up to the age of 20 there were four definite
   attachments to persons of his own sex. There was a tendency,
   sometimes, to regard women as possible whippers, and this became
   stronger at 22, the images of the two sexes then mingling in his
   thoughts of flagellation. Latterly the mental accompaniments of
   masturbation have been less personal, lapsing into the mental
   picture of being whipped by an unknown and vague somebody. When
   definite it has always been a man, and preferably of the type of
   a schoolmaster. His desire has been for punishment by whips,
   canes, or birches, especially upon the buttocks. He has always
   shrunk from the thought of the production of blood or bruises. He
   wishes, in mental contemplation, for a punishment sufficiently
   severe to make him anxious to stop it, and yet not able to stop
   it. He also takes pleasure in the idea of being tied up so as to
   be unable to move.
   He has at times indulged in self-whipping, of no great severity.
   In the preceding case we see a tendency to erotic
   self-flagellation which in a minor degree is not uncommon.
   Occasionally it becomes highly developed. Max Marcuse has
   presented such a case in elaborate detail (_Zeitschrift fuer die
   Gesamte Neurologie_, 1912, ht. 3, fully summarized in
   _Sexual-Probleme_, Nov., 1912, pp. 815-820). This is the case of
   a Catholic priest of highly neurotic heredity, who spontaneously
   began to whip himself at the age of 12, this self-flagellation
   being continued and accompanied by masturbation after the age of
   15. Other associated perversions were Narcissism and nates
   fetichism, as well as homosexual phantasies. He experienced a
   certain pleasure (with erection, not ejaculation) in punishing
   his boy pupils. It is not uncommon for all forms of erotic
   flagellation to be associated with a homosexual element. I have
   elsewhere brought forward a case of this kind (the case of A.F.,
   vol. ii of these _Studies_).
   Significant is Rousseau's account of the origin of his own
   masochistic pleasure in whipping at the age of 8: "Mademoiselle
   Lambercier showed toward me a mother's affection and also a
   mother's authority, which she sometimes carried so far as to
   inflict on us the usual punishment of children when we had
   deserved it. For a long time she was content with the threat, and
   that threat of a chastisement which for me was quite new seemed
   very terrible; but after it had been executed I found the
   experience less terrible than the expectation had been; and,
   strangely enough, this punishment increased my affection for her
   who had inflicted it. It needed all my affection and all my
   natural gentleness to prevent me from seeking a renewal of the
   same treatment by deserving it, for I had found in the pain and
   even in the shame of it an element of sensuality which left more
   desire than fear of receiving the experience again from the same
   hand. It is true that, as in all this a precocious sexual element
   was doubtless mixed, the same chastisement if inflicted by her
   brother would not have seemed so pleasant." He goes on to say
   that the punishment was inflicted a second time, but that that
   time was the last, Mademoiselle Lambercier having apparently
   noted the effects it produced, and, henceforth, instead of
   sleeping in her room, he was placed in another room and treated
   by her as a big boy. "Who would have believed," he adds, "that
   this childish punishment, received at the age of 8 from the hand
   of a young woman of 30, would have determined my tastes, my
   desires, my passions, for the rest of my life?" He remarks that
   this strange taste drove him almost to madness, but maintained
   the purity of his morals, and the joys of love existed for him
   chiefly in imagination. (J.J. Rousseau, _Les Confessions_, partie
   i, livre i.) It will be seen how all the favoring conditions of
   fear, shame, and precocious sexuality were here present in an
   extremely sensitive child destined to become the greatest
   emotional force of his century, and receptive to influences which
   would have had no permanent effect on any ordinary child. (When,
   as occasionally happens, the first sexual feelings are
   experienced under the stimulation of whipping in normal children,
   no permanent perversion necessarily follows; Moll mentions that
   he knows such cases, _Zeitschrift fuer Paedagogie, Psychiatrie, und
   Pathologie_, 1901.) It may be added that it is, perhaps, not
   fanciful to see a certain inevitableness in the fact that on
   Rousseau's highly sensitive and receptive temperament it was a
   masochistic germ that fell and fructified, while on Regis's
   subject, with his more impulsive ancestral antecedents, a
   sadistic germ found favorable soil.
   It may be noted that in Regis's sadistic case the little girl who
   was the boy's playmate found scarcely less pleasure in the
   passive part of whipping than he found in the active. There is
   ample evidence to show that this is very often the case, and that
   the attractiveness of the idea of being whipped often even arises
   spontaneously in children. Lombroso (_La Donna Delinquente_, p.
   404) refers to a girl of 7 who had voluptuous pleasure in being
   whipped, and Hammer (_Monatschrift fuer Harnkrankheiten_, 1906, p.
   398) speaks of a young girl who similarly experienced pleasure in
   punishment by whipping. Krafft-Ebing records the case of a girl
   of between 6 and 8 years of age, never at that time having been
   whipped or seen anyone else whipped, who spontaneously
   acquired--how she did not know--the desire to be castigated in
   this manner. It gave her very great pleasure to imagine a woman
   friend doing this to her. She never desired to be whipped by a
   man, though there was no trace of inversion, and she never
   masturbated until the age of 24, when a marriage engagement was
   broken off. At the age of 10 this longing passed away before it
   was ever actually realized. (Krafft-Ebing, _Psychopathia
   Sexualis_, eighth edition, p. 136.)
   In the case of another young woman described by
   Krafft-Ebing--where there was neurasthenia with other minor
   morbid conditions in the family, but the girl herself appears to
   have been sound--the desire to be whipped existed from a very
   early age. She traced it to the fact that when she was 5 years
   old a friend of her father's playfully placed her across his
   knees and pretended to whip her. Since then she has always longed
   to be caned, but to her great regret the wish has never been
   realized. She longs to be the slave of a man whom she loves:
   "Lying in fancy before him, he puts one foot on my neck while I
   kiss the other. I revel in the idea of being whipped by him and
   imagine different scenes in which he beats me. I take the blows
   as so many tokens of love; he is at first extremely kind and
   tender, but then in the excess of his love he beats me. I fancy
   that to beat me for love's sake gives him the highest pleasure."
   Sometimes she imagines that she is his slave, but not his female
   slave, for every woman may be her husband's slave. She is of
   proud and independent nature in all other matters, and to imagine
   herself a man who consents to be a slave gives her a more
   satisfying sense of humiliation. She does not understand that
   these manifestations are of a sexual nature. (Krafft-Ebing,
   _Psychopathia Sexualis_, English translation of tenth edition, p.
   Sometimes a woman desires to take the active part in whipping.
   Thus Marandon de Montyel records the case of a girl of 19,
   hereditarily neuropathic (her father was alcoholic), but very
   intelligent and good-hearted, who had never been whipped or seen
   anyone whipped. At this age, however, she happened to visit a
   married friend who was just about to punish her boy of 9 by
   whipping him with a wet towel. The girl spectator was much
   interested, and though the boy screamed and struggled she
   experienced a new sensation she could not define. "At every
   stroke," she said, "a strange shiver went through all my body
   from my brain to my heels." She would like to have whipped him
   herself and felt sorry when it was over. She could not forget the
   scene and would dream of herself whipping a boy. At last the
   desire became irresistible and she persuaded a boy of 12, whom
   she was very fond of, and who was much attached to her, to let
   her whip him on the naked nates. She did this so ferociously that
   he at last fainted. She was overcome by grief and remorse.
   (Marandon de Montyel, _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_,
   Jan., 1906, p. 30.)
   Although masochism in a pronounced degree may be said to be rare
   in women, the love of active flagellation, and sadistic impulses
   generally are not uncommon among them. Bloch believes they are
   especially common among English women. Cases occur from time to
   time of extreme harshness, cruelty, degrading punishment, and
   semi-starvation inflicted upon children. The accused are most
   usually women, and when a man and woman in conjunction are
   accused it appears generally to have been the woman who played
   the more active part. But it is rarely demonstrated in these
   cases that the cruelty exercised had a definite sexual origin.
   There is nothing, for instance, to indicate true sadism in the
   famous English case in the eighteenth century of Mrs. Brownrigg
   (Bloch, _Geschlechtsleben in England_, vol. ii, p. 425). It may
   well be, however, in many of these cases that the real motive is
   sexual, although latent and unconscious. The normal sexual
   impulse in women is often obscured and disguised, and it would
   not be surprising if the perverse instinct is so likewise.
   It is noteworthy that a passion for whipping may be aroused by
   contact with a person who desires to be whipped. This is
   illustrated by the following case which has been communicated to
   me: "K. is a Jew, about 40 years of age, apparently normal.
   Nothing is known of his antecedents. He is a manufacturer with
   several shops. S., an Englishwoman, aged 25, entered his service;
   she is illegitimate, believed to have been reared in a brothel
   kept by her mother, is prepossessing in appearance. On entering
   K.'s service S. was continually negligent and careless. This so
   provoked K. that on one occasion he struck her. She showed great
   pleasure and confessed that her blunder had been deliberately
   intended to arouse him to physical violence. At her suggestion K.
   ultimately consented to thrash her. This operation took place in
   K.'s office, S. stripping for the purpose, and the leather
   driving band from a sewing-machine was used. S. manifested
   unmistakable pleasure during the flagellation, and connection
   occurred after it. These thrashings were repeated at frequent
   intervals, and K. found a growing liking for the operation on his
   own part. Once, at the suggestion of S., a girl of 13 employed by
   K. was thrashed by both K. and S. alternately. The child
   complained to her parents and K. made a money payment to them to
   avoid scandal, the parents agreeing to keep silence. Other women
   (Jewish tailoresses) employed by K. were subsequently thrashed by
   him. He asserts that they enjoyed the experience. Mrs. K.,
   discovering her husband's infatuation for S., commenced divorce
   proceedings. S. consented to leave the country at K.'s request,
   but returned almost immediately and was kept in hiding until the
   decree was granted. The mutual infatuation of K. and S.
   continues, though K. asserts that he cares less for her than
   formerly. Flagellation has, however, now become a passion with
   him, though he declares that the practice was unknown to him
   before he met S. His great fear is that he will kill S. during
   one of these operations. He is convinced that S. is not an
   isolated case, and that all women enjoy flagellation. He claims
   that the experiences of the numerous women whom he has now
   thrashed bear out this opinion; one of them is a wealthy woman
   separated from her husband, and is now infatuated with K."
   Flagellation, more especially in its masochistic form, is
   sometimes associated with true inversion. Moll presents the case
   of a young inverted woman of 26, showing, indeed, many other
   minor sexual anomalies, who is sexually excited when beaten with
   a switch. A whip would not do, and the blows must only be on the
   nates; she cannot imagine being beaten by a small woman. She has
   often in this way been beaten by a friend, who should be naked at
   the time, and must submit afterward to cunnilinctus. (Moll,
   _Kontraere Sexualempfindung_ third edition, p. 568.)
   In the preceding case there were no masochistic ideas; it is
   likely that in such a case beating is desired largely on account
   of that purely physical effect to which attention has already
   been called. In the same way self-beating with a switch or whip
   has sometimes been spontaneously discovered as a method of
   self-excitement preliminary to masturbation. I am acquainted with
   a lady of much intellectual ability, sexually normal, who made
   this discovery at the age of 18, and practised it for a time.
   Professor Reverdin, also, speaks of the case of a young girl
   under his care who, after having exhausted all the resources of
   her intelligence, finally discovered that the climax of enjoyment
   was best reached by violently whipping her own buttocks and
   thighs. She had invented for this purpose a whip composed of
   twelve cords each of which terminated in a large chestnut-burr
   provided with its spines. (A. Reverdin, _Revue Medicale de la
   Suisse Romande_, January 20, 1888, p. 17.)

Original footnotesEdit

[107] The discipline or scourge was classed with fasting as a method of mastering the flesh and of penance. See, e.g., Lea, _History of Auricular Confession_, vol. ii, p. 122. For many centuries bishops and priests used themselves to apply the discipline to their penitents. At first it was applied to the back; later, especially in the case of female penitents, it was frequently applied to the nates. Moreover, partial or complete nudity came to be frequently demanded, the humiliation thereby caused being pleasant in the sight of God.

[108] Dulaure, _Des Divinites Generatrices_, ch. xv; Lea, _History of Sacerdotal Celibacy_, 3d ed., vol. ii, p. 278; Kiernan, "Asceticism as an Auto-erotism," _Alienist and Neurologist_, Aug., 1911.

[109] This is the opinion of Loewenfeld, _Ueber die Sexuelle Konstitution_, p. 43.

[110] Thus, Duehren (Iwan Bloch) remarks (_Der Marquis de Sade und Seine Zeit_, 1901, p. 211): "It is well known that England is today the classic land of sexual flagellation." See the same author's _Geschlechtsleben in England_, vol. ii, ch. vi. In America it appears also to be common, and Kiernan mentions that in advertisements of Chicago "massage shops" there often appears the announcement: "Flagellation a Specialty." The reports of police inspectors in eighteenth century France show how common flagellation then was in Paris. It may be added that various men of distinguished intellectual ability of recent times and earlier are reported as addicted to passive flagellation; this was the case with Helvetius.

[111] A full bibliography of flagellation would include many hundred items. The more important works on this subject, in connection with the sexual impulse, are enumerated by Eulenburg, in his _Sadismus und Masochismus_. An elaborate history of flagellation generally is now being written by Georg Collas, _Geschichte des Flagellantismus_, vol. i, 1912.

[112] Loewenfeld, _Ueber die Sexuelle Konstitution_, p. 43.

[113] _Archiv fuer Kriminal-Anthropologie_, 1909, p. 361. He brings forward the evidence of a reliable and cultured man who at one time sought to obtain the pleasures of passive sexual flagellation. But in spite of his expectation and good will the only result was to disperse every trace of sexual desire.

[114] E.g., Kiefer, _Zeitschrift fuer Sexualwissenschaft_, Aug., 1908.

[115] Fere, _Revue de Medecine_, August, 1900. In this paper Fere brings together many interesting facts concerning flagellation in ancient times.

[116] Schmidt-Heuert (_Monatschrift fuer Harnkrankheiten_, 1906, ht. 7) argues that it is not so much the actual use of the rod as playful, threatening and mysterious suggestions playing around it which nowadays gives it sexual fascination.

[117] Moll (_Untersuchungen ueber die Libido Sexualis_, Bd. 1, p. 18) points out that these emotions frequently suffice to cause sexual emissions in schoolboys.

[118] As Eulenburg truly points out, the circumstances attending the whipping of a woman may be sexually attractive, even in the absence of any morbid impulse. Such circumstances are "the sight of naked feminine charms and especially--in the usual mode of flagellation--of those parts which possess for the sexual epicure a peculiar esthetic attraction; the idea of treating a loved, or at all events desired, person as a child, of having her in complete subjection and being able to dispose of her despotically; and finally the immediate results of whipping: the changes in skin-color, the to and fro movements which simulate or anticipate the initial phenomena of coitus." (Eulenburg, _Sexuale Neuropathie_, p. 121.)

[119] See the article on Udall in the _Dictionary of National Biography_.