THE AUTHOR'S FILES, especially those of the last decade, record the experiences of many couples who were advised either to change or to start their sex relations in accordance with the six rules. They include a number of exceptional cases but most of the cases may be regarded as typical, repeating the same problems with variations. The results have been excellent, but only when the couples were cooperative and strictly followed instructions. Otherwise they have had to content themselves with mere improvement. Where one of the partners refuses to obey the rules or does not want to change a faulty sex habit, the sex relationship continues unsatisfactory. Such a result cannot be blamed on the rules, any more than a schoolteacher can be held responsible for the failure of a child who plays truant.
All the cases, if recounted in detail, would require a book in themselves and would make monotonous reading. To select those which would throw the most light on the reader's own marital problems, was not easy. In the end the author decided to present nine cases from his practice, grouping them according to their response to treatment:
Group A. Couples who could not be helped, and why.
Group B. Average examples of marital trouble showing satisfactory improvement.
Group C. Outstanding cases with excellent results.
It has been the author's custom to make notes every even
ing on the various cases he has dealt with during the day.
The case histories which follow have been reconstructed from notebooks kept over a period of years, and while the dialogues here presented may not always repeat the patient's exact words, they stick closely to their essential meanings.1
COUPLES WHO COULD NOT BE HELPED, AND WHY.
Fred (twenty-five) and Ann (eighteen) had been married one year. Ann's love for Fred changed, with the months, into repulsion and hate. Her divorce suit was referred to me by the court. At her marriage an innocent, immature, naive girl, Ann resented Fred's insatiable sex demands. He expected at least one intercourse a day, if not two or three. At last, after violent quarrels, even fistfights, she refused every sex relation with him. His excuse was that his immense sex capacity, unconsumed in every respect before marriage, required frequent release, especially when he became stimulated through Ann's proximity. Ann did not want to be the victim of what she called his "horrible disease" or "brutishness."
It took me two hours to explain to Fred that his too-brief intercourse merely increased the tension in both him and Ann, and that he was mistaken in thinking that repeated ejaculation would relieve the tension in himself. At last Fred understood me. He promised Ann to approach her sexually not more than once every five days, and to follow carefully the other five rules. Ann agreed to continue the marriage for three weeks, giving him another chance.
Three weeks later they came to my office again. They seemed to have observed my six rules but, even so, after two sex unions, Ann's "frigidity" and repulsion toward her husband had reappeared. She was as tense as before and insisted on divorce.
What was wrong? This time the fault was not in Fred. Amazingly quickly Fred had learned to control his ejaculations. Preparation, Duration, Position, Frequency seemed to be correct. Nevertheless Ann seemed even more nervous and disturbed after intercourse than before.
My cross examination of Ann brought out the following fact: Eager not to become pregnant as long as her marriage was not secure Ann used, at my advice, the rhythm method of birth control. But, even though her menstrual cycle was extremely regular, Ann did not trust this method. Someone had told her that the dangerous periods for pregnancy were just before and just after menstruation. She believed me partly, nevertheless she became afraid. If fear enters into a sex union a person's whole nervous system is blocked, and the bio-electricity of the two bodies cannot unite and neutralize each other. Now that her husband was better able to prepare her, to arouse her "radiations," she felt still more irritated after the intercourse. Result: more tension, more nervousness. If one little wheel in a delicate watch is disturbed, the whole mechanism is stopped.
As she stubbornly refused to try again, a divorce was in evitable.
When Barbara T. came to me she was, at twenty-eight, so careworn that she looked forty. She wanted very much to get a divorce from her husband, George, a service station owner also aged twenty-eight, with whom she had fallen in love five years ago. They had married and been quite happy even
though, for economic reasons, he would not consent to have children. She felt that her frustrated desire for children was the reason she had never been able to have an orgasm. During the third year of their marriage her sex life with him had be come repulsive and unbearable. Nevertheless, for two years, she felt it was her duty not to deny her body to him. But now she wanted a divorce. In my discussion with her I soon learned that all my six rules were repeatedly violated. She was eager to try the rules but was convinced that her husband would refuse, under all circumstances, to come to me for instruction and would certainly not welcome any instruction from her.
Such an attitude on the part of the husband was nothing new. A husband, so long as he is not impotent, feels that any dissatisfaction in his wife is beyond his control, even beyond his responsibility. He looks upon the sex act mainly as proof of his potency, his manliness, and considers the frequency of his orgasms to be his only obligation to his wife. He can be approached for instruction only if there is no intimation that he is unskilled or inexperienced.
I promised Barbara to do my best to bring him to my office.
I called George T. on the telephone and was rudely rebuffed. It was only when I told him that I wanted to talk with him about his wife's unsatisfactory reaction to sex life that he calmed down a little and agreed to come to my office after work.
In the course of our conversation he accused his wife of being hysterical, moody, ill-tempered and entirely frigid. He indicated that he would like a divorce but could not afford one; furthermore, he needed a housekeeper.
His remarks were typical of the innumerable self-centered, inconsiderate, ruthless husbands who believe that their wives are frigid through no fault of theirs and that they themselves are perfect. Nearly always they confuse erection with perfection.
When George T. came to the office I found him eager to hear what could be done to change his wife, and I took care that he should not feel that any blame could be put on him. I explained to him that his wife was one of a well known type of woman who needs a long and careful preparation before she can be sexually aroused, especially if she is at all afraid or resentful. If a woman of this type is nervously blocked she is not able to respond in a sex union.
"Why should she be resentful?" he asked.
"She is too sensitive," I explained, "and takes little remarks of yours more seriously than you intend. I shall have to teach her to understand you better or her depression and unhappiness will disturb the whole sex act from the beginning."
He agreed with that and said that she ought to learn not to expect a hard-working man to weigh every word.
I said that I thought I could help her to change, but that it would be difficult in the beginning and I would need his cooperation.
He was interested and still more so when he learned that I knew him to be a very healthy and extremely potent man and therefore believed that he could be a perfect teacher for Barbara if he would follow, exactly, the treatment I had outlined for her.
He agreed to try and asked what I wanted him to do.
I explained to him my six rules, always interpreting them as a treatment for his wife. He listened with interest and understanding, and seemed anxious to prove his capacity for coping with the "frigidity" of his wife.
I have reported this interview in detail because it is typical of the difficulty encountered in getting cooperation from husbands whose sex life is not successful.
When I saw this couple again three weeks later there was little progress to report. The rules, George said, wouldn't work.
I asked for more details.
"Well, on the days of intercourse I was kind and considerate to Barbara, as you said," he began.
I looked at Barbara and could read her thoughts: on the days of intercourse he was kind, but not on the other four days. He was kind for a purpose, but not sincerely, spontaneously kind and fond. The words "as you said," had given him away. He had been following a recipe, putting on a performance, and she had felt the lack of sincerity in it and therefore could not respond.
George, who was not much of a mind-reader, continued:
"Preparation was all right. Duration was more than right.
I held back the orgasm an hour and twenty minutes and could have held it longer, but I was bored. The damned position was O.K. but I certainly didn't feel anything flowing out of her, and I didn't feel any currents in my own cells. And I know why. A man can't relax and concentrate on intercourse when he's watching the clock and thinking what he has to do and what he has to avoid. The whole business made me so mad that I quit after the third try. I don't think you can get anywhere with your rules, Doctor, at least not with us."
I agreed that there is some contradiction in the rules at first. No one can relax completely and concentrate his attention upon his feelings if he has to change old and deep-rooted habits and restrain himself from the pleasure he is accustomed to. Under these conditions sex union cannot be entirely satisfactory. But, I pointed out, many other things that one learns to enjoy are no pleasure at first. There is not much enjoyment in playing the piano so long as you have to think what each finger must do. But once the finger muscles have been sufficiently exercised they do what they should without conscious direction, and piano playing then becomes both a pleasure for the performer and delight for the audience. It is the same in sex life.
I then went on to give George and Barbara a talk on sex perfection as an art, describing it as, perhaps, the most neglected and least understood art in our culture, but at the same time the most beautiful and far-reaching for human happiness. I ended by asking if they did not think it worth spending three or four unpleasant weeks in cultivating this art and assuring them that, when the six rules had been fully mastered, they would no longer require conscious thought, and full relaxation could then be achieved.
In spite of their apparent willingness to learn, the relationship between George and Barbara improved hardly at all. The reason came to light, in a later interview with George, when he admitted that he was in love with another woman who responded to him perfectly, sexually, but was not willing to seek a divorce in order to marry him.
"That is the real reason you could not succeed with your wife," I explained to him. "A woman as sensitive as Barbara cannot help feeling, intuitively, that you are in love with someone else, or at least not in love with her. She cannot react to your love-making. The spirit of Love is dead between you two." I advised that he either break off his extra-marital attachment or give his wife the freedom she desired, in order that she might have a chance to find the right partner.
In the end he agreed. Barbara got her divorce.
I usually make all possible efforts to save a marriage, but it was clear, in this case, that any reconciliation would be short lived.
Attempts at reconciliation are useless unless one is sure of two things: (a) that the marriage was originally based on mutual attraction and love; (b) that neither partner is having a happy love affair with another person whom he, or she, is unwilling to give up completely. Experience shows that the unfaithful partner stubbornly resists the pressure toward reconciliation exerted by friends, family and the married partner.
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.
It 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 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.
To become an expert in any field, whether art, science, sport or mechanical work, requires practice. Couples have to train themselves until the mechanics of the sex act become automatic. Then, and only then, can they follow the six rules without effort, and only then can they elevate their sex life to the highest degree of human happiness. I pleaded that it was worth while to control an urgent desire for a few weeks in order to reach this goal.
Henry eventually agreed, but I had no further opportunity to persuade Rudolf and Mimi. Nevertheless, the results achieved with the couples who have followed my advice give me full confidence that I am on the right track, and that Rudolf and Mimi, like all those who refuse to try to learn, are dilettantes in love, however much they consider themselves artists.
These examples demonstrate the statement that unsatisfactory results are the consequences of misunderstanding or disobeying these rules.
Many married men dislike to be told how to perform a sex act. "I know all about your rules! That's nothing new for me!" But their desperate wives assure me that they do not follow even one of the rules. They give up after the first try.
They do not devote time to preliminary love making. They speak during intercourse, cannot relax at all, have no patience, no self-control, no consideration for their mates. In a few minutes all is over, only to start another unsatisfactory sex act the next day.
Now to mention the abandonment of the recommended position: is it really so difficult to understand that a man should put his left leg between the legs of his wife? Still craving his accustomed position, he finds reasons to neglect other recommendations. Who, then, is responsible for the couple's dissatisfaction with their sex life?
But if such men exclaim that they knew all about the six rules long ago, then it is obvious that they have not grasped what was said about the most important part of sex intercourse, the mutual exchange of bio-electricity, which is more beautiful and more relaxing than ejaculation and orgasm, but yet still comparatively unknown in theory and practice among civilized nations.
The closest followers of the rules have been young, inexperienced couples, who, wanting to make a success of marriage, consulted me before their wedding day. Thus, from the beginning of their marriage, they began to cultivate what I believe can be considered a satisfactory, healthy sex life. The results support such a belief.
- 1. These cases are not handled strictly in the case record form. Since they are psychological rather than medical cases it was necessary to indicate all reactions, in word, look and gesture, to make clear changes in the patients' attitudes toward their problems.