Sex Perfection and Marital Happiness (excerpts)

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Cover of Sex Perfection and Marital HappinessSex Perfection and Marital Happiness, published in 1949 by psychiatrist Rudolf von Urban MD, is a collection of case studies and other materials about "a new conception of the mechanism of sexual intercourse." In it von Urban describes the benefits of the bio-energetic flow of energy between partners who prolong intercourse by delaying orgasm. He also offers his six rules for human sex relations. View picture and short article about Von Urban.

Von Urban counseled lots of self-restraint, but not the avoidance of orgasm entirely. He praises Karezza, in which orgasm is avoided, but says it is too hard for most people. He suggests that it is only for couples who are well-suited to one another and deeply in love. Interestingly, his two most inspiring case studies involve couples who did avoid orgasm entirely.1 Perhaps, as a Freudian psychiatrist who had been persuaded of the ills of unhealthy sexual repression (and quite possibly a Catholic, as he strongly favors procreation), von Urban simply couldn't bring himself to see the wisdom of making love without orgasm...entirely.

Even so, von Urban's book is full of good advice and lots of wisdom. Using the principles in this book, he was able to help couples rediscover their love for each other and save their marriages. He also includes case studies of patients whose health improved as a result of changing the way they made love.

Here is passage from Chapter 6. All the excerpts can be reached through links at the bottom of the page.


Mimi and Rudolf were first brought to my attention in 1928 in a cafe, a rendezvous for artists, in the Boulevard Clichy in Paris. Henry P., who was with me, pointed them out as an exceptionally attractive couple who had no need of the services of a sexologist. Their story was well known in the Quarter. It had been a case of love at first sight. The man was a penniless author but Mimi lived with him in great happiness and devotion in spite of the most squalid circumstances.

Henry P. had barely finished describing their idyllic relationship when the couple began to quarrel violently. Their voices rose until hundreds of spectators were watching the drama. Finally, trembling and pale, Mimi left the cafe announcing that she had had enough and was not coming back. "That's all right with me!" yelled the author, hurling his drink after her.

At my request, Henry P. brought the agitated man to our table and left us. After a brief, angry outbreak Rudolf calmed down. The story he told could well provide the material missing between the second and third acts of Puccini's La Boheme. In the beginning, he said, Mimi had been an incomparable sweetheart. But, after two or three months she became extremely quarrelsome; every word he spoke irritated her. After a particularly violent scene she left him, to return after a few days. Reconciliation, beautiful days of happiness, and then the tension started again, increased and ended in another tremendous row and separation. This had happened repeatedly. But this time, he assured me, they were through with each other. Thank God, now he could write again undisturbed!

When I asked what caused the friction, he could not give me a single, plausible reason. Nothing but trifles. My professional interest aroused, I enquired about their sex relations.

I was assured that nothing could be more satisfactory. He willingly told me every detail of his love life with Mimi. They reacted to each other so strongly that, even before they began an intercourse, Mimi would come to an orgasm. He had never been so happy in his life with any other girl.

passionIt seemed clear to me that there was no need for this couple, so passionately and spontaneously attracted, to follow the first demand of my six rules: Preparation. But their violation of two other rules [Duration and Frequency] might very well account for the temperamental ups and downs in their relations. Their intercourse was extremely frequent and of brief duration.

I tried to convince Rudolf that these two mistakes increased the tension in both of them and that the great drain upon his sperm cells reduced his hormone production, and consequently his capacity for work. At this he became angry and even hostile. He declared that love cannot be imprisoned in laws, that if I wished to consider him an undisciplined Bohemian artist, that was all right with him, but as such he demanded freedom in his love life. To try to press love into rules was ridiculous. He left in anger, and I little expected that he would ever become a pupil of mine.

When Henry P. then returned I recounted the discussion. Henry agreed with Rudolf. Two young people passionately in love with each other will not and cannot follow commands and rules in love-making, he maintained. To attempt to do so would repress all spontaneity, naturalness, abandon. "Kiss eight minutes, embrace twelve minutes, lie touching thirty minutes! It's ridiculous!" he said. "It turns love into military drill."

I agreed that, put that way, it sounded ridiculous, but I asked how long he thought the "batteries" of these two people would last and if he knew the usual end of such passionate love affairs. The partners have a kind of tense, jittery restlessness, but actually they are exhausted; their irritation leads in

the end to hate. I said the hangover after sex excess is often more damaging than one after alcohol. Sharp decrease of sex hormones causes loss of energy, vigor, happiness and, eventually, love.

Henry maintained that all love affairs had a similar result and quoted the saying, "Venus comes happy but goes away sad." It was his impression that couples who are happy together, sexually, wear themselves out, and those who aren't happy, sexually, devote their energies to other things. He thought that Rudolf and Mimi were happier, over-indulging, than other people who live more regularly.

His error lay, I protested, in thinking that there are only two choices, too little and too much. When intercourse is performed with adequate duration and proper frequency the partners feel a deep satisfaction, relaxation, tenderness and love for each other afterwards. Their desire for sex union then, as a rule, is not renewed for several days. Instead, a close bodily contact suffices. They find it delightful just to sleep in each other's arms.

I gave it as my opinion that Rudolf prided himself upon being a wild, unrestrained, Bohemian lover. He wanted vividness, passion, fire, and was too much a child to heed the consequences. There are primitive tribes which could teach him refinement and taste in sex, however great an artist he may be with words. He may insist on going his own way but we had seen where it leads: to scenes, quarrels and hypertension. I reminded my listener of Rudolf's remark that now that Mimi had left him, at least he could write again! Why could he not write before?

Because he loved her so passionately that he could not think when she was with him, Henry believed. She took all his attention.

I disagreed. Not all his attention, all his energy, I maintained. The brain cells are part of the same body that produces

sex energy. His sex life would not weaken him if it were well-performed. On the contrary, he would be more vigorous, animated, and stimulated.

Henry ridiculed the suggestion that sex needs to be cultivated like the other arts. Ironically he asked me would I recommend that the English should have a Lover Laureate and the French an Institute of the Erotic Arts.

I replied that this might be better then the stupidity, ignorance, and tragic blunders that one sees on all sides, and tried to convince him that my advice regarding sex practice is not so ridiculous if a couple wants to conserve and even to increase their love for each other and become relaxed and happy.

For brief article about this book, see "A Taste of Heaven."

Excerpts are below, and here's a scan of the entire book.

  • 1. See Event 4 and Case IX (involving couple who voluntarily switched to Karezza, despite von Urban's advice).